MRSA, or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, can cause fatal infections– and they’re feeling right at home with you.
A recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences indicates that you could easily contract MRSA through an open sore or a cut on your skin, with the bacteria frequently residing in your house– particularly if someone recently there was sick with a MRSA infection.
The study examined community-associated MRSA, or CA-MRSA, a variety of the drug-resistant infection that athletes sometimes pick up in locker rooms and gym members sometimes come into contact with when they use gym equipment. The bacteria has even spread to churches, schools, and many other public places– and while hospital-acquired MRSA infections usually hit older people with poor immune systems, CA-MRSA frequently inflicts young and fully-healthy people. Nearly five to 10 percent of the skin and soft-tissue infections the bacteria causes can be deadly.
The researchers specifically looked at a strain of MRSA known as USA300, which leads to approximately 75 percent of all MRSA infections doctors come across. Study analysts found that, in households housing one person who had been infected with a USA300 strain, the bacteria hung around surfaces and– occasionally– reinfected people who lived there.
“USA300 has produced an unprecedented epidemic of CA-MRSA infections in the United States,” the authors delivered in their research synopsis. “Community households serve as a critical reservoir for CA-MRSA diversification, transmission, and infection.”
Study authors also attempted to figure out what caused USA300 to become so venomous. It used to be considered resistant primarily to penicillins– but now, it’s resistant to similar varieties of potent antibiotics that drug-resistant infections acquired from hospitals are.
Their research concluded that increased use of fluoroquinolone antibiotics most likely led to the rise of the USA300 strain. “This indirectly suggests that, in populations with a lot of fluoroquniolone exposures, it has enabled this clone to spread,” admitted Anne-Catrin Uhlemann, MD, PhD, assistant professor of medicine in the division of infectious diseases at the Columbia University Medical Center. “Every time we use this drug to treat one thing, it will have an impact on other bacteria. What we really have to learn is how can we limit the use of antibiotics.”
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