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Superbug infections dropping across US, army finds

Bloodstream infections caused by the MRSA superbug may be on the decline in communities across the U.S., according to a large study of military personnel.

Previous data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show a drop in infections contracted in healthcare settings. But the trajectory of community-onset MRSA, short for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, is less clear.

The bug - a strain of bacteria that can't be killed by certain common antibiotics - is estimated to have caused severe illness in nearly 95,000 Americans in 2005 alone, killing more than 18,500 of them. MRSA can attack several part of the body, but bloodstream infections are usually the most feared.

"Those are very serious infections with a mortality rate of 20 percent," said Dr. Michael David, a MRSA expert at the University of Chicago, who was not involved in the new study. "The fact that those are going away is very welcome news."

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