Killer Hospital-Bred Infection Enters Broader Community

October 31, 2007 12:31 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
An antibiotic-resistant variant of staph bacterium responsible for the deaths of children in three U.S. states appears in schools in Connecticut, Maryland and New York.

30-Second Summary

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, is untreatable with the most commonly used antibiotics.

The first cases of MRSA infection occurred in hospitals. But increasingly these potentially deadly germs are making their way into the community at large. The so-called “super-bug” recently claimed the lives of children in Virginia, Mississippi and New Hampshire.

A study by doctors from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that MRSA killed more than 18,650 Americans in 2005—more than were killed by AIDS that year.

The most vulnerable group is people with weakened immune systems, a class of person common to the hospital environments where the bug developed. But MRSA infections are increasingly afflicting young healthy individuals.

Indeed, 28 professional athletes, including NBA star Grant Hill, have been stricken with this bacterium, and many have suffered severe consequences.

MRSA moves quickly. It can multiply from one bug to 17 million within 24 hours.

It has traveled so quickly through community settings that doctors now speak of “Community Acquired” MRSA, to differentiate these cases from those believed to have commenced in a healthcare environments.

Headline Links: Student Deaths, MRSA Kills More Than AIDS

Background: What is Staph?

Historical Perspective: Prevalence of Antibiotics

Reactions: Few Hospitals Reduce Rates of MRSA, Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths

Related Links: CDC, The Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology

Reference: Prevention With Simple Solution, Treatment

Opinions/Analysis: The Lancet, Mayo Clinic



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