FRIDAY, Oct. 22 (HealthDay News) -- An increasingly stubborn
strain of methicillin-resistant
Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, a common bacterial infection acquired in hospitals, has been identified in Ohio, according to research presented at the annual meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of America.
The strain, ST239 MRSA, killed 22 percent of the people it
infected within 30 days, the study found. It's the first time that
the strain, originally identified in Brazil, has been seen in the
United States since the 1990s.
"It does have epidemic potential for outbreak," the study's co-author, Dr. Shu-Hua Wang, said. "It has increased capacity to cause invasive, serious infection."
Wang's group reported that 6.8 percent -- or 77 -- of 1,126 MRSA
samples collected through the Ohio State University Health Network
and seven rural hospitals in a three-year period from January 2007
to January 2010 were ST239.
Wang, who is an assistant professor of medicine at Ohio State,
called for more genotyping of MRSA isolates.
A second study presented at the conference found that antibiotic
prescriptions in the United States were much higher in the South
than in the West, a finding that held for all types of
The average nationwide was 0.85 prescriptions per person in
2009, the study found. West Virginia had the highest rate (1.29 per
person), followed by Kentucky, Tennessee, Louisiana, Alabama and
Mississippi. The lowest prescription rates were seen in Alaska
(0.52 prescriptions per person), followed by Oregon, Colorado,
California and Washington state.
"The prescribing rate in the South was more than double the prescribing rate in the West," said Dr. Lauri Hicks, with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adding that the research team would be "exploring the reasons behind those differences."
Health experts are interested in the rates, she said, "because
antibiotic use is strongly linked to antibiotic resistance."
Among other research being presented at the conference, which
concludes Sunday in Vancouver, Canada: three new drugs appear to
show promise in fighting MRSA and other bacteria when current
Also being presented at the conference is a study involving a
computer model that found that "universal contact precautions" --
requiring anyone visiting a MRSA patient in the hospital to wear
gloves and a gown -- were more effective at preventing MRSA
infection among patients in intensive-care units than were other
But the approach was expensive. The study's lead author, Dr.
Courtney A. Gidengil, an instructor in pediatrics at Children's
Hospital of Boston and Harvard Medical School, said that other
strategies might be less effective but they are also less
Another study presented at the conference found that
Enterobacteriaceae, or CRE, which carries a high mortality rate, is becoming more prevalent in the Chicago area.
Smart campaign has more on when antibiotics work and when they
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