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Do Antibiotic Ointments Spread Superbug?

Thursday, 15 Sep 2011 07:48 AM


Over-the-counter antibacterial ointments may be a contributor to the spread of a dangerous strain of MRSA known as USA300, a new study suggests.

MRSA, or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infections usually are caught by hospital patients but are becoming more widespread in the community, WebMD.com reports. If they are not quickly treated, they can spread to the blood, lungs, and elsewhere, and kill those infected.

The study, published in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases, tested 259 MRSA samples from infections treated at two Japan hospitals. Nineteen of the samples were USA300, a strain rare in Japan but prevalent in the United States. Health officials are especially concerned about USA 300 because it is resistant to a number of drugs and makes a “flesh-eating” toxin.

Almost half of the USA300 samples appeared resistant to the antibiotics bacitracin and neomycin, which are in the ointments, and another USA300 sample was resistant to bacitracin but susceptible to neomycin, WebMD.com reports. However, none of the 240 samples of other MRSA strains from Japan were bacitracin-resistant, while more than half of the other strains appeared partially resistant to neomycin.

"I think this indicates that spreading of USA300 may be related with problems in North America, specifically," study researcher Dr. Yoshitsugu Iinuma, professor in the department of infectious diseases at Kanazawa Medical University in Ishikawa, Japan, tells WebMD.com in an email. Antibiotic ointment is rarely used in countries outside North America, he says.

To read the complete WebMD.com story, Go Here.





© HealthDay

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