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scientists react to news on community-acquired MRSA

Results presented at the Federation of Infections Societies Conference in Cardiff highlighted the dangers posed by particular strains of MRSA which are spread outside of hospitals and can lead to a serious lung condition called necrotising pneumonia.

Professor Kevin Kerr, Consultant Microbiologist/Hon Clinical Professor of Microbiology, Department of Microbiology, Harrogate District Hospital, said:

“MRSA is often thought as a hospital superbug, but we are becoming increasingly aware of strains which are causing infections outside hospital. These strains can behave differently to their hospital-associated cousins and affect previously fit and healthy people including children in whom MRSA used to very uncommon. The emergence of community MRSA underlines just how good bacteria are at evolving to present us with new and difficult problems to solve.”

Mark Enright, Professor of Molecular Epidemiology, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College London, said:

“We have been working on this in San Francisco where the incidence of community-acquired cases exceeds that in hospitals in some areas. These community strains are genetically different to the hospital ones and they typically produce a toxin, PVL that is associated with increased virulence and transmissibility of the organism ie they spread faster and are more aggressive. Recent work in the USA (paper attached) shows that community MRSA infection is the major infectious cause of attendance at an emergency room (A&E) in eleven US cities – an indicator that this is becoming a problem in the general population not just those at special risk – intravenous drug users, prison inmates, men who have sex with men and members of sports teams.”

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