Highly drug-resistant "superbug" attacks US gays

By Margarita Snegireva. A new, highly drug-resistant strain of MRSA, or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, has moved outside hospitals and is now spreading among gay men, researchers reported Monday.

Some of the hardest hit areas are San Francisco , Boston , New York and Los Angeles , according to a San Francisco Chronicle report.

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) (usually spelled out as M-R-S-A, sometimes pronounced in short as "Mursa"), is a bacterium responsible for difficult-to-treat infections in humans. It may also be referred to as multiply-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or oxacillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (ORSA). The organism is often sub-categorized as Community-Associated MRSA (CA-MRSA) or Hospital-Associated MRSA (HA-MRSA) depending upon the circumstances of acquiring disease, based on current data that these are distinct strains of the bacterial species.

MRSA is a resistant variation of the common bacterium Staphylococcus aureus. It has evolved an ability to survive treatment with beta-lactam antibiotics, including penicillin, methicillin, and cephalosporins.MRSA is especially troublesome in hospital-associated (nosocomial) infections. In hospitals, patients with open wounds, invasive devices, and weakened immune systems are at greater risk for infection than the general public. Hospital staff who do not follow proper sanitary procedures may transfer bacteria from patient to patient.

MRSA was discovered in 1961 in the UK. It is now found worldwide. MRSA is often referred to in the press as a superbug.

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