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Surge in antibiotics to fight MRSA


Research centred on doctors’ surgeries and emergency department records in the US showed a dramatic rise in skin infections caused by community-acquired MRSA from 1997 to 2005 is reported in.

During that period, the number of prescriptions written for drugs effective against MRSA more than tripled. But the most effective treatment was found to be good hygiene.

At the start of the study, less than 8% of prescribed antibiotics were those effective for MRSA. By 2005, 28% were in that category.

Adam Hersh, lead researcher at the University of California, San Francisco said: “We had anticipated seeing a rise in office visits for abscesses due to the emergence of community-acquired MRSA, but we were somewhat surprised by the rapid changes in antibiotic prescribing.”

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But hygiene is the key, says Erica Pan, an assistant professor of paediatric infectious diseases and a medical epidemiologist at the San Francisco Department of Public Health.

She said: “A simple way to avoid these and many other infections is to practice good hygiene habits, such as routine hand-washing with soap and water, as well as by covering open cuts and wounds when participating in sports or other activities involving skin-to-skin contact with other people.”

Adam Hersh said the data is too old to show what is happening right now, or even last month.

But it does confirm that the emergence of community-acquired MRSA in the 1990s led to a rapid increase in the number of patients with skin and soft tissue infections nationwide.

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