A multidrug-resistant superbug infection that can cause life-threatening illness in people with cystic fibrosis (CF) has spread globally and is becoming increasingly virulent, British researchers said on Thursday.

In a study published in the journal Science, the researchers said the bug, a species of multidrug-resistant bacteria called Mycobacterium abscessus (M. abscessus), can cause severe pneumonia and is particularly dangerous for patients with CF and other lung diseases.

“The bug initially seems to have entered the patient population from the environment, but we think it has recently evolved to become capable of jumping from patient to patient, getting more virulent as it does so,” said Andres Floto, a Cambridge University professor who co-led the study.

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