UPI-- US scientists say they've developed a method of identifying specific sites of localized bacterial infections in living animals.
Bradley Smith of the University of Notre Dame and colleagues previously developed fluorescent molecular probes containing zinc that could be used to discriminate between common pathogenic bacteria, such as E. coli and Staphylococcus aureus, and mammalian cells.
In the new study, the scientists used the probes to pinpoint the sites of staph infections in laboratory mice. The scientists say physicians might have difficulty distinguishing localized bacterial infections from sites of sterile inflammation.
"Bacterial imaging is an emerging technology that has many health and environmental applications," the researchers said. "For example, there is an obvious need to develop highly sensitive assays that can detect very small numbers of pathogenic bacterial cells in food, drinking water or biomedical samples. In other situations, the goal is to study, in vivo, the temporal and spatial distribution of bacteria in live animals."
The study is described in a report scheduled for the Jan. 10 issue of the Journal of the American Chemical Society.
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