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MRSA Linked with Rise in Bacterial Infections

Two bacterial muscle infections have been found to be common in tropical countries along with the emergence of community-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus// aureus (CA-MRSA), according to researchers in Houston, Texas whose study was published in the Oct. 15 issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases, now available online.

Staphylococcus aureus, or staph, is a common bacterium found on the skin or in the nose of a quarter to a third of all people. Usually harmless, staph can cause skin infections such as pimples and boils and, less frequently, serious infections of surgical wounds or the bloodstream, and pneumonia. For years, infections caused by Staphylococcus aureus have been treated by inexpensive antibiotics in the penicillin and cephalosporin family.

Some years ago, strains resistant to these drugs, called methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) appeared in hospitalized patients. Recently, however, newer forms of MRSA began to strike healthy people who have not been recently hospitalized or undergone invasive medical procedures. These community-acquired strains appear to be readily transmitted from person to person and can cause serious skin and soft tissue infections as well as invasive infections such as bone or joint infections or pneumonia. Failure by physicians to suspect this kind of drug-resistant staph can lead to treatment with the wrong antibiotic.

Pyomyositis is an acute bacterial infection of skeletal muscle that produces an abscess within the muscle. Myositis is also a muscle infection, but does not form an abscess. The study authors investigated the 45 cases of pyomyositis or myositis in otherwise healthy children who were hospitalized at Texas Children's Hospital from 2000 through 2005. Sixteen of these cases were caused by CA-MRSA and 10 by CA-MSSA (methicillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus).

The number of cases increased year by year, from four cases in the first year of
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