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A new study has shown that patients who have harboured the MRSA bacterium for longer than a year are at increased risk of infection.
MRSA is resistant to antibiotics, meaning it can cause a variety of serious infections. It has already been proven that patients who have recently developed MRSA are at substantial risk of subsequent infections, but the new study, published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, shows the increased risk of infection continues long after first exposure to the bacterium.
The report’s author, Dr Susan Huang, said that almost a quarter of MRSA-colonised patients developed infections after a year or more had passed. “Since infection risk remains substantial among long-term carriers of MRSA, these patients should be targeted for interventions to reduce subsequent risk of infection along with patients who newly acquire MRSA,” she said.
Researchers believe that the MRSA infection risk may be more closely linked with hospitalisation than with how long someone had carried the bacterium. “We submit that these high risks of MRSA infection among culture-positive prevalent carriers are not only preferentially detected because of hospitalisation, but may in fact be incurred because of device-related, wound-related, and immunologic declines associated with a current illness,” Dr Huang and co-author Rupak Datta wrote.
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