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.
Mar 12, 2009 | 2
Evidently, pork isn’t just a problem when it shows up in stimulus package bills or because pigs smell. It may also land you in the hospital.
That’s the message of a Nicholas Kristof column in today’s New York Times about the dawning realization that pigs around the world often harbor antibiotic-resistant staph bacteria. The original “superbug,” these bacteria can cause painful, red welts in infected people, and infections kill over 18,000 Americans annually – more than AIDS, according to 2005 estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
As Kristof notes, ScientificAmerican.com reported in January on this so-called MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) first turning up in samples of U.S. swine, according to a study published in PLoS ONE. Evidence that commercially raised pigs – usually pumped full of disease-fighting antibiotics to grow good and fat for their bacon and holiday hams – are breeding tough bacteria originally cropped up on a farm in the Netherlands in 2004. There, the pig-borne versions of the bacteria account for nearly a third of all MRSA infections.
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.
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