Scientists at the National University of Ireland have established a relation between bacteria and rosacea. Rosacea is a skin condition that causes lesions and reddening of the facial skin. The research team has discovered that rosacea is caused by bacteria that live inside mites which are a part of our skin micro flora.
Study on symbiotic mites in our skin
According to the study, a species of mites calledDemodex folliculorum live in our skin as harmless inhabitants. Their number increases with age and the damage to the skin such as exposure to sunlight. During the course of their investigation the researchers found that the number of these mites was exceptionally high in rosacea patients. So they isolated these Demodex mites for further studies. To their surprise they found that within these mites lived a species of bacteria called Bacillus oleronius. Molecular studies on these bacteria proved that the bacillus produce molecules which trigger an immune reaction that is visible as the inflammation and lesions in rosacea patients.
How the mites contribute to rosacea
The latest edition of Journal of Medical Microbiology carries a review on this research conducted by Dr Kevin Kavanagh. According to him, the bacteria said to be responsible for rosacea are found in the digestive tract of the facial mite. They share a symbiotic relationship. However, when the mites die, these bacteria are released from their guts and they flow into the surrounding tissues and cells. This triggers an inflammation reaction and tissue degradation. The condition is not only embarrassing for the person who suffers from it, but also very painful due to the inflammation. Sometimes, the lesions can cause secondary infections, worsening the situation.
The most common mode of treatment for rosacea is administrating antibiotics. And they work because the main cause of the condition is bacteria. But now, with this new discovery, more specific antibiotics can be developed to counter the Bacillus oleronius species. Alternately, medication for controlling theDemodex mite population in the skin can be developed. This way the population of the bacteria can be controlled as well as the probability of the infection reduced.
Almost 3% of the population in America is affected by rosacea. Hence this discovery is important to pharmaceutical industry. Already, some of the companies have begun their work on developingtherapeutic agents to counter these new skin microbes. This has given new hope to people suffering from rosacea, as the chances of reversing and even preventing rosacea appear to be very high.