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New MRSA threat

21st May 2009

Fears are growing that a new strain of MRSA seems to be triggering a deadly form of pneumonia in people who catch flu.


The potential of the threat from the new strain of the antibiotic-resistant bacterium, which is becoming more widespread, is outlined in a study in the journal Lancet Infectious Diseases.

Known as community acquired MRSA (CA-MRSA), it poses a significant risk outside hospitals.

While cases of pneumonia caused by CA-MRSA in the UK are very rare, researchers from Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta say death rates following infection may be higher than 50%.

Experts warn that swine flu may intensify the problem because CA-MRSA appears to strike people who are already ill with flu.

The researchers said: "Community-acquired MRSA infections are no longer restricted to certain risk groups or to the geographic areas where outbreaks first occurred.

"They now occur widely both in the community as well as health care facilities and have been reported on every continent."

MRSA expert Professor Mark Enright from Imperial College London said that CA-MRSA pneumonia was particularly dangerous “due to the rapid, aggressive nature of the infection.”

"The emergence of pandemic influenza and increased prevalence of CA-MRSA in many countries may cause increased morbidity and mortality in infected individuals," he added.

Professor Richard James of the University of Nottingham said the threat from CA-MRSA in the USA was a very serious concern.

However, the Health Protection Agency stressed that while several other countries had encountered problems, it said these infections remain uncommon in the UK.


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Article Information

Title: New MRSA threat
Author: Mark Nicholls
Article Id: 11442
Date Added: 21st May 2009


BBC News

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