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Study indicates dramatic rise in antibiotic-resistant community-acquired staph infections

Staph infections resistant to antibiotics, previously only associated with hospitalization or prior contact with the healthcare system, are now widespread in the community and coming home.

A new study from Emory University School of Medicine and Grady Memorial Hospital, featured in the March 7, 2006 Annals of Internal Medicine, reports on a dramatic rise in antibiotic resistant community-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), making it the primary cause of skin and soft tissue infections. An editorial accompanying the article notes, "the number of populations at risk for community-acquired MRSA infections is steadily expanding", making it a "remarkable epidemic."

The bacterium Staphyloccus aureus (staph) normally resides on skin and in noses, and typically infects tissues through cuts or rashes. Those infections can remain minor, or lead to illnesses ranging from boils or abscesses to necrotizing skin infections, pneumonia and sometimes blood stream infections. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that staph is one of the leading causes of skin infections in the United States.

Previously, scientists have categorized staph into two main types: antibiotic resistant (MRSA), and methicillin-susceptible Staphyloccus aureus (MSSA), which can be treated by antibiotics in the penicillin or related groups (i.e, beta-lactam antibiotics). Previously, MRSA infections were usually restricted to hospital or healthcare-associated infections. This is clearly no longer the case.

Henry M. Blumberg, MD, is the senior author of the study, and professor of medicine and program director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Emory University School of Medicine and hospital epidemiologist at Grady Memorial Hospital. He says, "We have seen an explosion of community-acquired MRSA infections among the urban patient populations served by the Grady Health System. Community-acquired MRSA infections are no
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Source:Emory University Health Sciences Center


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