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MRSA ‘Superbug’ Found On West Coast Public Beaches




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Public beaches may be one source of the surging prevalence of the superbug known as multidrug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, researchers here said Saturday.

A study by researchers at the University of Washington has for the first time identified methicillin-resistant Staph aureus (MRSA) in marine water and beach sand from seven public beaches on the Puget Sound.

The researchers identified Staph bacteria on nine of 10 public beaches that they tested. Seven of 13 Staph aureus samples, found on five beaches, were multidrug resistant, says lead investigator Marilyn Roberts.

“Our results suggest that public beaches may be a reservoir for possible transmission of MRSA,” she told the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy here, the leading international conference on new and resurgent diseases.

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria have been around for almost as long as there have been antibiotics. Until recently, researchers have been able to outwit them by developing new antibiotics. Now, however, the pipeline of new antibiotics has slowed, and germs are coming perilously close to winning the race.

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