The Rise of Superbug MRSA in USA.

Scientists from University of Maryland School of Public Health has found the presence of  “superbug” methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in several wastewater treatment plants in the USA-thus identifying the first environmental source of MRSA bacteria in the United States.

The study by Goldstein et Al published in the November 2012  issue of the journal Environmental Health Perspectives assumes immense significance on account of the fact that reusing reclaimed wastewater (from where these superbugs originate) is fast increasing globally. It is also of occupational health significance owing to the fact that wastewater treatment plant workers and other individuals expose to reclaimed waste water will be at risk of getting infected by these antibiotic resistance bacteria.

The study by Goldstein et al  found that

MRSA and MSSA  in 50%) and 55% waste­water samples, respectively. The odds of samples being MRSA-positive decreased as treatment progressed: 83% influent samples were MRSA-positive, while only 8% effluent samples was MRSA-positive. Ninety-three percent and 29% of unique MRSA and MSSA isolates, respectively, were multi­drug resistant. SCCmec types II and IV, the pvl gene, and USA types 100, 300, and 700 (PFGE strain types commonly found in the United States) were identified among the MRSA isolates.

Previously such antibiotic resistance superbugs (similar not the same) were identified as  New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase (NDM-1) way back in 2008 in a Swedish patient who has been hospitalises In India earlier. The UK’s National Health Protection agency has then put out a national alert ” of an increasing number of carbapenem-resistant strains of Enterobacteriaceae being identified in UK hospital patients, a significant proportion of whom had received medical treatment abroad. ” It also identified that most of such individuals affected by the superbug has been recently hospitalised in India or Pakistan.

Subsequently in June 2010 America’s CDC too gave an advisory mentioning that “Clinicians should be aware of the possibility of NDM-1–producing Enterobacteriaceae in patients who have received medical care in India and Pakistan, and should specifically inquire about this risk factor when carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae are identified. CDC asks that carbapenem-resistant isolates from patients who have received medical care within 6 months in India or Pakistan be forwarded through state public health laboratories to CDC for further characterization. ”

It is worthwile mentioning that a study published in  The Lancet Infectious Diseases also found the presence of superbug “NDM-1 β-lactamase-producing bacteria in environmental samples in New Delhi”, India.

Does the end of the Mayan Calendar herald the rise of antibiotic resistance “superbugs “?

Image From Invisible Worlds exhibition – 2012  © Copyright M J Richardson and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

6 thoughts on “The Rise of Superbug MRSA in USA.

  1. Patrick Boshell says:

    Thanks for sharing this article. We would like to feature on our Hand Hygiene Blog with your permission. Please advise.

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