Saturday, February 14, 2009

Scientists Warn of Staph and MRSA Risks from Marine Waters

Researchers from the University of Miami warn us of the risk of Staph and MRSA exposure from marine waters. MRSA (methicillin resistant staph aureus) has evolved from staphylococcus aureus bacteria that become over colonized and cause serious infections in animals and humans, and are resistant to treatment with methicillin.

Infections from MRSA have caused more deaths than HIV/and AIDS this year. Scientists continue to explore the health risks and sources of MRSA exposure. Researchers now warn of the health risks of Staph and MRSA, confirmed by cultures taken from a large public beach, and other marine water recreational areas to find sources of Staph and MRSA outside of hospital and community settings.

The study authors write, “Infections by MRSA are now the most common cause of skin and soft tissue ailments in people who go to the nation’s emergency rooms for care. As infections with these organisms increase, the search for all the sites or sources where they may survive and be shared among individuals is paramount”.

The hypothesis that recreational swimming might contribute to the spread of MRSA led the researchers to investigate 1303 adults for signs of staph infection and/or MRSA, comparing results between two groups randomly assigned as bather or non-bather.

The study results found a 37% association between staph infections, and a 2.7% association of contracting MRSA from other bathers at the beach. Dr. Lisa Plano, associate professor of pediatrics and microbiology and immunology at the University of Miami's Miller School of Medicine says, "Our study found that if you swim in subtropical marine waters, you have a significant chance -- approximately 37 percent - of being exposed to staph -- either yours or possibly that from someone else in the water near you."

In addition, the researchers confirmed that children in diapers, sand, and other bathers are also a source of Staph aureus and MRSA in small and large swimming areas using marine water.

Wash before and after swimming to reduce your risk of spreading and contracting MRSA or other staph skin infections. Be wary of swimming in public pools if you have open wounds or sores.

The study concluded, “These findings support our hypothesis and demonstrate that human health risks occur in non-point source recreational marine beaches,” from exposure to staph and MRSA.

Source: ◦