Community MRSA getting more dangerous, CDC says

Until recently, the healthcare industry was primarily focused on fighting the spread of MRSA within hospitals and other health facilities. However, community-acquired MRSA is becoming increasingly common, and causing far more serious illnesses than in the past, according to a new study.

MRSA is increasingly showing up in settings like schools or among players on sports teams, according to a study by the CDC. To examine this trend, researchers tested samples of the most common community MRSA strain, USA300, in a network of hospitals in nine cities and states over the last few years.

The CDC study suggested that 10 percent of the common community strains of staph infection are now resistant to antibiotics, and not just penicillin and drugs of its type. These 10 percent could also evade clindamycin, tetracycline, Bactrim or other antibiotics. In some cases, antibiotics that are so old that their patents have expired are being pulled off the shelf to fight the staph infections. These drug-resistant staph bacteria cause 95,000 serious infections and 20,000 deaths every year.

Worse still, when these infections come into hospitals, they are able to swap gene components with other bacteria-and become even more drug resistant. Doctors are saying that it's becoming a major epidemic in this country.

To learn more about this problem:
-read this Associated Press piece