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90 Million Americans Harbor Drug Resistant Bacteria Inside Their Nose

A study published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases has projected alarming reports of a 32% prevalence of Staphylococcus aureus in nasal samples, // among Americans. The organism is implicated as a causative factor in a majority of the hospital acquired infections. This report, prepared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is consistent with the increase in hospital-acquired infections in the US.

About 1% of the nasal samples tested positive for the presence of Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), approximating to nearly 2 million people. All people with the bacteria have increased chances of developing an infection. Most of these, however, never get sick.

The study is the first of its kind to have explored the magnitude of the prevalence of such a bacterial form. This could eventually serve as a baseline for other similar studies in the future. It also highlights the possibility of spread of infection in non-hospital areas such as prisons, spas and athletic locker rooms.

MRSA accounts for a significant proportion of the skin infections seen in the emergency care rooms and the conventional hospital setup. According to a report published in the New England Journal of Medicine, it accounts for 59% of all skin infections in 11 different centers across the nation.

Nursing homes, hospitals, dialysis units and other forms of health care centers were regarded to be risky for S. aureus infection. It is now feared that large-scale infections could be seen in the general community due to its widespread presence. Symptoms usually consist of a spreading boil, rash or pimple associated with pain. It can be treated successfully by cleaning and drainage of the wound. If untreated, the infection can spread to the bones or blood and can be fatal.

Antibiotics can be prescribed and the full course of the treatment must be completed to prevent development of antibiotic resistance. Simp le measures such as washing of hands, appropriate care of wound can restrict the transmission of the bacteria.


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