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New measures to tackle infections suffered by astronauts during space flights have been suggested by scientists in the US. Microgravity is known to weaken the astronaut's immune system in some ways while it also increases the virulence and anti-microbial resistance of some micro-organisms, the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases reports.
Vaccinations could be expanded to include germs like Meningococcus and Pneumoccocus. And because no new germs are going to join the astronauts on board once they take off (assuming none are brought back from Mars), expanded pre-flight screening may help, too, according to a statement by Brown University.
'Astronauts could be screened - in multiple body sites - for all strains of Staphyloccocus aureus, including some antibiotic-resistant forms, and stool could be screened and re-screened for Salmonella,' said Brown University and Rhode Island Hospital infectious disease expert Leonard Mermel.
Mermel said astronauts could also receive formal infection control education regarding hand hygiene, environmental cleaning and other healthy practices. And a new bit of cargo, he added, which NASA is working on, is easy to use low-energy diagnostic testing kits for germs causing common infections.
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