MRSA superbug spreads from big city hospitals to regional health centers

Hospitals in large cities act as breeding grounds for the superbug MRSA prior to it spreading to smaller hospitals, a study suggests.

Researchers found evidence that shows for the first time how the superbug spreads between different hospitals throughout the country.

The University of Edinburgh study involved looking at the genetic make-up of more than 80 variants of a major clone of MRSA found in hospitals.

Scientists were able to determine the entire genetic code of MRSA bacteria taken from infected patients.

They then identified mutations in the bug which led to their emergence of new MRSA variants and traced their spread around the country

Dr Ross Fitzgerald, of The Roslin Institute at the University of Edinburgh, who led the study said: “We found that variants of MRSA circulating in regional hospitals probably originated in large city hospitals. The high levels of patient traffic in large hospitals means they act as a hub for transmission between patients, who may then be transferred or treated in regional hospitals.”

MRSA – methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus – first started to appear around 50 years ago following the introduction of antibiotics, to which the bacteria has become increasingly resistant.

Paul McAdam, of The Roslin Institute and first author of the paper, said: “Our findings suggest that the referral of patients to different hospitals is a major cause of MRSA transmission around the country. This knowledge could help in finding ways to prevent the spread of infections.

The paper published in the journal PNAS, also found that the MRSA strain studied evolved from antibiotic-sensitive bacteria that existed more than 100 years ago.


The material in this press release comes from the originating research organization. Content may be edited for style and length. Have a question? Let us know.

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1 thought on “MRSA superbug spreads from big city hospitals to regional health centers”

  1. It’s amazing that even now most nurses still don’t know how to wash between patients! Nurses put on gloves and a apron. They then help the patient to wash, toilet, or change infected wound dressings,etc. The nurse then remove their gloves which have only protected their hands and they then wash their hands. The problem is that their arms were exposed but they are not taught to wash that area? Some nurses also move from ward to ward hospital to hospital in the same uniform. Also doctors don’t bother to wear any protected clothing and very few bother to even wash their hands between examining patients?

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