Super Germs Outside the Hospital

  • Author: Veronika Belusa
  • Published: 27 April 2014
  • Copyright: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA
  • Source / Publisher: New England Journal of Medicine
thumbnail image: Super Germs Outside the Hospital

Cesar A. Arias, University of Texas Medical School, Houston, TX, USA, and colleagues report a first case of a patient with a bloodstream infection caused by a strain of the methicillin-resistant bacteria Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), which is also resistant to vancomycin. Vancomycin is the antibiotic that was still effective and used most commonly against MRSA.

The spherical microbes of the multidrug-resistant strains of MRSA are found on the skin and mucous membranes of up to 30 % of all people. Mostly they are harmless. In immunocompromised patients, however, the bacteria can cause severe skin infections, heart and lung inflammation, and a deadly blood poisoning.

The new germ found in Brazil is not from the hospital, but is circulating in the general population. DNA analysis revealed that the pathogen showed a gene fragment, the vanA gene cluster, that made it immune to vancomycin.

The researchers fear, that the presence and dissemination of community-associated MRSA containing vanA could become a serious public health concern.

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