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Understanding MRSA - Two New Studies Show How It Evolves

Posted by Jane Akre
Tuesday, January 22, 2008 11:03 AM EST
Category: Major Medical, Protecting Your Family
Tags: FDA and Prescription Drugs, Toxic Substances


Two new studies show how MRSA evolves and how it fights the body's immune system


Some promising news on understanding the strain of staph infection that becomes community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA), an antibiotic resistant and potentially deadly form of the staph bacteria.

Researchers believe a single strain of the bacteria is responsible for most of the community associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA)—that is MRSA found outside of hospital settings. 

USA300 has spread with “extraordinary transmissibility” throughout the United States during the past five years say researchers at the National Institutes of Health who conducted the study.

The single strain USA300 was discovered by analyzing the genetic makeup of  MRSA taken from 10 patients who were infected from different parts of the country. 

Eight of the ten genomes had enough similarities to tell researchers they were from the same strain.  Two strains were related but just slightly and they caused far fewer deaths in lab mice. The rules out the possible that different strains are emerging throughout the country. But tiny evolutionary changes can have a severe impact on the virulence of the disease.

Research leader Frank R. DeLeo said in a prepared statement, “We anticipate that new USA300 derivatives will emerge within the next several years and that these strains will have a wide range of disease-causing potential."

This study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences may allow more targeted identification and early treatment for the deadly strain of staph infection.

The second study allows researchers to look at how MRSA evolves to survive inside the human body.

MRSA bacteria elude destruction by the host’s immune system by turning the tables and attacking the body’s own immune system.  Somehow MRSA senses danger and attacks white blood cells.  This study is published in The Journal of Immunology. 

"Scientists are pressing ahead quickly to learn more about how some MRSA strains evade the immune system and spread quickly. The information presented in these two studies adds important new insights into that expanding knowledge base," NIAID Director Dr. Anthony S. Fauci said in a prepared statement. 

That news as another report of the deadly version of the staph infection, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) has been identified in a Michigan school.

In the latest case, Bloomfield Township is disinfecting a high school gym and classrooms after a high school wrestler was diagnosed with MRSA on Friday. It is the same strain that  killed a Virginia high school student last October.  No other students have reportedly been infected.

Last year, two schools in the area were closed for disinfecting.  It is reported the teen may have been infected from wrestling competitions in neighboring schools.  #


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