Sep 14, 2009 | 7
Bathers, beware. A trip to the beach could yield more than a damaging sunburn. According to a recent study, all nine sampled beaches in Washington State contained strains of the virulent methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteria—or related methicillin-resistant coagulase-negative Staphylococci—in the sand or water.
The so-called superbug can cause severe infection and is resistant to some antibiotic treatments. It is most closely associated with hospitals, where it was responsible for nearly 9,000 patient deaths in 2005, according to a study in The Journal of the American Medical Association. It has, however, been drawing increased attention in other settings.
Feb 17, 2009 | 6
We've been hearing for some time now about the proliferation of drug-resistant staph infections caused by bacteria that are stronger than antibiotics. Today there's an indication that in at least one small portion of the universe, the infections are actually on the decline.
The rate of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bloodstream infections from central lines (intravenous catheters) in hospital intensive care units (ICUs) dropped by half between 1997 and 2007, according to research in tomorrow's Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). It’s unclear exactly how many Americans become sick with MRSA in ICUs every year, but an estimated 94,360 Americans contracted such infections in 2005, just over a quarter of them caught in the hospital, according to CDC research published two years ago in JAMA. MRSA is responsible for 5.6 percent of all central line-caused infections.
Oct 2, 2008
Government disease trackers alarmed by the rise of "superbugs" resistant to antibiotics are urging consumers to stop using the drugs to treat ailments (read: viruses) that won't respond to them.
A new print, radio and TV campaign by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) highlights the difference between bacterial infections, such as strep throat, and viruses like the common cold and flu. It reminds us that antibiotics are not only impotent against viruses, but that overuse of them has led to antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
"Antibiotic overuse is a serious problem and a threat to everyone's health," Lauri Hicks, medical director of CDC's Get Smart: Know When Antibiotics Work program, says in a press release. The CDC estimates that tens of millions of antibiotic RXs are written annually in the U.S. for maladies that they cannot treat.
Aug 27, 2008 | 14
Good news for potheads making their annual trek to Black Rock, Nev. this week to celebrate Burning Man: A new study says that marijuana appears to fight infections. According to research published in the Journal of Natural Products, the five most common cannabinoid compounds in weed—tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol, cannabigerol, cannabinol and cannabichromene—can kill antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Think MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), which claimed more lives than AIDS in 2007 or, more recently, extensively drug-resistant mycobacterium tuberculosis (XDR-TB.)
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