Drug-resistant staph deaths surpass AIDS in the United States

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Electron micrograph of MRSA

Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a drug-resistant strain of bacteria, killed nearly 19,000 Americans in 2005 alone, according to a new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association. That is more people than were killed by AIDS in the United States. More than 94,000 Americans were afflicted with MRSA infections in 2005.

Although the supergerm, or superbug, is primarily found in hospitals, a growing number of cases have been contracted at public gyms and schools. In Moneta, Virginia, a high school senior died from an infection that spread to his kidney, liver, lungs and heart. In Bedford County, where Moneta is located, school officials have reported five cases of the Methicillin-resistant strain of the Staph bacteria. County officials closed the schools to clean them.

"Certainly, MRSA now has to be viewed as a very important target for prevention and control," said Dr. David A. Talan, an infectious diseases specialist at Olive View-UCLA Medical Center.


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