MRSA superbug spreading from hospitals across UK

Financial Times 25th October 2017: MRSA superbug spreading from hospitals across UK

The Financial Times article above discusses the first comprehensive study of the transmission of the life-threatening bacterial superbug methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Researchers at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine used new “genomic surveillance” technology to trace the spreading of MRSA in the east of England for a year.

The results indicated that MRSA infection outbreaks occurred not only within hospitals but also in the community, within GP surgeries and homes. The study estimates that 3% of the UK population, approximately 2 million people, carry MRSA and the superbug can cause infections in the carrier or be spread, leading to infections in other subject both inside and outside of hospitals. MRSA causes a range of different infections from minor skin infections through to fatal bloodstream sepsis. From 2018, the researchers at the Sanger Institute will pass on all MRSA tracking information in real time to infection control workers in hospitals, who will then be able to intervene more quickly and effectively to fight outbreaks.

Professor Peacock said, “If implemented in clinical practice, this would provide numerous opportunities to catch outbreaks early and target these to bring them to a close, for example by ‘decolonising’ carriers and implementing barrier nursing.”

Dr Love, CSO at Destiny Pharma plc, welcomed the report and noted, “This research comes against the backdrop of a resurgence of MRSA hospital infections in England and a disturbing, long term neglect of year-on-year rises in hospital infections from the less publicised, yet still deadly, bacterial sibling of MRSA, methicillin sensitive Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA). This research represents a much-needed additional approach that could help address these infections if rolled out across the UK.”