A new genetic method has been developed that allows scientists to track the spread of MRSA, it has been revealed.
Researchers at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Cambridgeshire used DNA-mapping technology to compare the genetic links of bugs isolated from individual patients.
They were able to follow the transmission of MRSA between countries and from one patient to another by recognising letter changes in the bacteria’s genetic code.
It is hoped the findings can help improve infection control strategies aimed at keeping superbugs at bay.
Another discovery was that one MRSA outbreak in a London hospital intensive care unit was probably due to a bacterial strain imported from south-east Asia – possibly brought in by a single infected patient.
The research was published in the journal Science.
Co-author Dr Sharon Peacock, from Cambridge University, said: “Our research should inform global surveillance strategies to track the spread of MRSA.
“The implications for public health are clear: this technology represents the potential to trace transmission pathways of MRSA more definitively so that interventions or treatments can be targeted with precision and according to need.”
Copyright Press Association 2010