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Drug-Resistant MRSA Bacteria: Here to Stay in Both Hospital and Community

The drug-resistant bac­te­ria known as MRSA, once con­fined to hos­pi­tals but now wide­spread in com­mu­ni­ties, will likely con­tinue to exist in both set­tings as sep­a­rate strains, accord­ing to a new study.

The pre­dic­tion that both strains will coex­ist is reas­sur­ing because pre­vi­ous pro­jec­tions indi­cated that the more inva­sive and fast-growing com­mu­nity strains would over­take and elim­i­nate hos­pi­tal strains, pos­si­bly pos­ing a threat to pub­lic health.

Researchers at Prince­ton Uni­ver­sity used math­e­mat­i­cal mod­els to explore what will hap­pen to com­mu­nity and hos­pi­tal MRSA strains, which dif­fer genet­i­cally. Orig­i­nally MRSA, which is short for methicillin-resistant Staphy­lo­coc­cus aureus, was con­fined to hos­pi­tals. How­ever, community-associated strains emerged in the past decade and can spread widely from per­son to per­son in schools, ath­letic facil­i­ties and homes.

Both com­mu­nity and hos­pi­tal strains cause dis­eases rang­ing from skin and soft-tissue infec­tions to pneu­mo­nia and sep­ticemia. Hos­pi­tal MRSA is resis­tant to numer­ous antibi­otics and is very dif­fi­cult to treat, while com­mu­nity MRSA is resis­tant to fewer antibiotics.

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