MRSA is short for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, a bacteria that is resistant to certain types of antibiotics, including methicillin, oxacillin, penicillin and amoxicillin. Most infections occur in the hospitals or health care setting where people’s immune systems are naturally weaker (called healthcare-associated or HA-MRSA). Another type of MRSA can infect healthy people in the community (called community-associated or CA-MRSA), and this bacteria causes a serious form of pneumonia and skin infections.
But this breaking news is rather surprising – researchers combing the beaches along the state of Washington found MRSA in the sand at the shoreline! The type of Staph found in 10 public beaches were similar to those acquired from hospitals, but there are no local hospitals near the beaches.
Except for testing two beaches in southern California (negative findings), no other test was done in other beaches around the nation, so there’s no telling if other places may have MRSA. Dr. Marylin C. Roberts presented the study at the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, so the findings (and abstract) have preliminary information, and the author is not telling people to avoid beaches. Dr. Roberts did caution people about getting checked if they find a persistent rash, fever, and other tell-tale signs of infection after a visit to the beach. The most likely way for the bacteria to travel into the skin is digging into or covering oneself with sand, especially if one have exposed cuts or abrasion, or is medically fragile.
If I read something more about this or related studies, I’ll be sure to pass that on.
via MedPage Today