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Technique developed for tracking MRSA

22nd January 2010

A UK-based team of scientists has developed a technique for precisely tracking the spread of MRSA in hospitals.


Researchers from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Cambridge looked at the genomes of MRSA strains from two different sets of samples.

One set was taken from people across the globe, while another came from a single hospital in Thailand.

Using the samples, the team was able to spot changes and track the strain back to a specific patient.

Professor Sharon Peacock, a microbiologist at the University of Cambridge said: "The implications for public health are clear. This technology represents the potential to trace transmission pathways of MRSA more definitively so that interventions or treatments can be targeted with precision and according to need."

The research was published in the journal Science and involved UK teams in Bath, Oxford and London, along with researchers in Thailand, Portugal and the United States.

Using new high-throughput DNA sequencing technologies, scientists were able to compare MRSA samples and spot single-letter differences in the genetic code.

At present, such technology is considered too expensive for widespread hospital use but will fall in price in the future.

Professor Mark Enright, who is an expert in molecular epidemiology at Imperial College, London, said: “This work is a great demonstration of new, rapid DNA sequencing that in the near future will be how important pathogens such as MRSA will be identified.”

He said the method of identification will form the basis for rapid diagnostics of microbial infection and will reveal how they spread in hospitals.


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Article Information

Title: Technique developed for tracking MRSA
Author: Mark Nicholls
Article Id: 13858
Date Added: 22nd Jan 2010


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