MRSA :: Staph superbug MRSA may be infecting patients in US

MRSA Superbug, a drug-resistant staph bacteria, is found in at least five percent of patients who are staying in hospitals, nursing homes, or long term care facilities in US.

Antibiotic resistance is the ability of a micro-organism to withstand the effects of an antibiotic. It is a specific type of drug resistance. If a bacterium carries several resistance genes, it is called multiresistant or, informally, a superbug.

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) are isolates of the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus that have acquired genes encoding antibiotic resistance to all penicillins, including methicillin and other narrow-spectrum ?-lactamase-resistant penicillin antibiotics. The first MRSA was discovered in the UK in 1961, but MRSA are now widespread in the hospital setting. MRSA is commonly termed a superbug.

It is being reported that superbugs are becoming increasingly common, a fact that worries many in the health field. In this study, researchers estimated that at least 46 out of every 1,000 patients had the bug.

At least 30,000 U.S. hospital patients may be carrying in them the superbugs at any given time, according to a survey released Monday by the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology. The estimate is about 10 times the rate that some health officials had previously estimated.

MRSA is hard to treat because the bacteria have developed resistance to the penicillin drug family. The antibiotic-resistant infections are more common in North America, because of overuse of antibiotics.

“This is a welcome piece of information that emphasizes that this is a huge problem in health care facilities, and more needs to done to prevent it,” said Dr. John Jernigan, an epidemiologist with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The study is being presented this week at the association’s annual meeting in San Jose, California, US.

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