Wednesday, October 17, 2007

MRSA and Other "Superbug" Infections on the Rise

Over the last few years there have been more and more stories about emergence of infectious "superbugs" that resist treatment by most known antibiotics. The concern has grown in the last few days.

The bug is called MRSA, for methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus. Methicillin in a powerful antibiotic, and as the name of MSRA suggests, the drug cannot kill this staph infection.

Separate studies released Wednesday point out that MRSA has become so widespread that it may kill more people than HIV/AIDS. Close to 19,000 people in the United States died from MRSA in 2005. The bug has spread dramatically in places like hospitals and nursing homes, where it is easy for infections of all kinds to spread.

The Journal of the American Medical Association suggests that MRSA infections may be twice as common as is currently believed.

MRSA is not the only potential "superbug." Update New York has reported cases of another superbug, streptococcus pneunomiae, that has been found in a number of children with ear infections. This bug is resistant to all government-approved antibiotics, researchers reported.

The United States is not the only country affected by MRSA and related infections. In Britain, infection experts are fighting a outbreak of MRSA at a hospital neonatal unit after six babies tested positive for the bug.

The neo-natal unit of the Royal Blackburn Hospital in Lancashire closed to new admissions last month when the PVL strain of the MRSA outbreak was found.

, and upstate doctors have identified a "superbug" linked to pediatric ear infections that repels all 18 government-approved antibiotics, researchers report in separate analyses Wednesday.

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