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Staph infections rise in US

26th June 2006

Antibiotic-resistant staph infection has long been common in hospitals, but a new strain is becoming more common in athletics and schools. It's also rising dramatically among children. 

The staph spreading outside hospitals is known as CA-MRSA or community-acquired methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus. New studies say untold numbers of Americans carry the bug.
The bacteria cause tiny skin irritations resembling spider or mosquito bites. These turn into angry sores and abscesses or apple-sized lumps, along with fever.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention spokeswoman Nicole Coffin has said how many people are infected with CA-MRSA, which emerged in 1999-2000 but didn't start spreading widely until a few years ago, is unknown. Doctors and health agencies aren't required to report the infections.
Even a quick 'high five' can spread the bug, experts says, if two people have breaks in their skin. Sports departments are notably worried as athletes commonly share towels and whirlpool baths.
Dr. Clarence B. Creech II, a dermatologist at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee, said new antimicrobials are needed to fight more virulent bacterial infections.
The New England Journal of Medicine published a study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in April concluding the bug had become 'a common and serious problem' that, unlike older strains of staph, often requires hospitalization, especially in children. The CDC said it found that 23 percent of cases were serious enough to require hospitalization.
Experts recommend hand-washing after working out in a gym or after athletics, along with regular use of alcohol-based hand sanitizer to prevent infection. Athletic equipment should be cleaned regularly as well, and soap, towels, whirlpool baths, and razors should never be shared.
Among children, the CDC said, risk factors include premature birth or low birthweight, chronic underlying diseases, prolonged hospitalization, invasive or surgical procedures, catheters, and prolonged use of antimicrobial agents. Outbreaks 'have been challenging in neonatal nursery units,' CDC said.


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Article Information

Title: Staph infections rise in US
Author: Chris May
Article Id: 437
Date Added: 26th Jun 2006


Atlanta Journal-Constitution
US Centres for Disease Control

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