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Superbug MRSA on rise in Canadian hospitals as well as in community, study finds

There has been a dramatic increase in the number of cases of Canadians becoming infected or colonized by the superbug MRSA since 1995, both in hospitals and within the community, a study has found.

Researchers who conduct national surveillance of infectious diseases found that between 1995 and 2007, the incidence of MRSA - methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus - soared 17-fold at Canadian hospitals.

Over the 13-year period, there was also a three-fold jump in the number of MRSA infections associated with more virulent strains from the community, say researchers from the Canadian Nosocomial Surveillance Program, who conducted the study based on data from 48 sentinel hospitals across the country.

"This is the most comprehensive and representative picture we have to date of MRSA in Canada," said lead author Dr. Andrew Simor, chief of microbiology and infectious diseases at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto.

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