City hospitals 'breeding MRSA'

16 May 2012

Large city hospitals are the breeding grounds of MRSA before it spreads out to other healthcare facilities as patients are moved around, new research has claimed.

Scientists from the University of Edinburgh discovered the trend by following the superbug's movement using its genetic code.

Medical experts were able to ascertain the genetic code of MRSA bacteria taken from an infected patient, before identifying mutations and tracking their spread around the UK.

The researchers studied 80 different strains of the bug found in smaller regional hospitals and found evidence that variants of the potentially deadly infection emanated from large city centre hospitals.

Dr Ross Fitzgerald, of the Roslin Institute at the university and who led the study, said: "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."

The institute's Paul McAdam, an author of the research 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."

Copyright Press Association 2012



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