Astronauts face bacteria threat in space [2015/11/12 09:55]

The International Space Station is infected with a strain of bacteria which could cause the deadly disease called “diphtheria.”
Scientists discovered the bug during an analysis of the dust in the orbiting space base. The dust mostly consists of astronauts’ dead skin cells.

Other bacteria were also found aboard the ISS.

Now researchers have called for an urgent investigation to decide whether any of the bacteria could infect the astronauts.

“The risk of acquiring infection from bacterial and fungal pathogens might pose a threat to crewmembers’ health and needs to be studied in the future,” a team of academics from top universities in America and Europe warned in the journal Microbiome.

British astronaut Tim Peake, 43, is set to blast off to the ISS on Dec. 15 and it means he could be exposed to dangerous bacteria.

So, what is diphtheria? Diphtheria is highly contagious. It is a potentially fatal infection that mainly affects the nose and throat, and sometimes the skin.

It’s spread by coughs and sneezes, or by contact with someone with diphtheria.
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