Bacteria that can cause miscarriages?


enginyeria biomèdica, òptica


per Servei de Comunicació i Promoció
Gener 2011

Amplia pantalla Baixa resolució


How can a type of bacteria commonly found in wet environments, such as pools, cause a miscarriage? How do pregnant women become infected?

Gemma Agustí. Department of Optics and Optometry. Environmental and Health MicrobiologyLab – AquaSost.

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Gemma Agustí is fond of something Jules Verne once said: science is made up of a series of mistakes that lead little by little to the truth. ‘It’s true! A bad result shouldn’t discourage you or make you lose hope.’ She insists, ‘Research is addictive. Every time you obtain a positive result, you want to do it some more!’

Agustí’s research focuses on pathogenic microorganisms found in wet environments such as swimming pools and accumulated rainwater that cause spontaneous abortions, or miscarriages. She received a start-up grant from the UPC and is currently studying these pathogens and identifying sources of infection.

The bacterium Waddlia chondrophila is believed to cause abortions in bovines and has, in recent years, been directly linked to spontaneous abortions in women in the first trimester of pregnancy. The ecology, route of infection and prevalence in the environment of this pathogen are all unknown and, thus, so is the route of transmission.