MRSA Superbug spread in households

MRSA Superbug spread in households

A New Research Study focuses on the household environment which leads to the spreading of MRSA Superbug infection. It was found in the study that the methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) superbug can easily spread from people to household pets and this study emphasizes the importance of regular handwashing.

In the journal Lancet Infectious Diseases, the researchers note that the so-called staph infections and MRSA were once rare diseases and the infections could be easily treated with antibiotics. But with the overuse of antibiotics, MRSA is now accountable for killing about 20,000 people each year in the U.S. alone and infecting hundreds of thousands of people.

In this study, scientists focused on the households of 150 healthy children who had been treated for MRSA infections along with 693 family members and 154 household cats and dogs, for having a closer look at what could happen inside houses for the disease to spread.

Dr. Stephanie Fritz of Washington University in St. Louis, the senior study author says, “Looking at the transmission of MRSA, the environment of the household plays a key role. This means that if we could have aggressive attempts to get rid of MRSA from

household environments, then there could be a significantly lower number of MRSA infections we’re seeing now.”

Dr. Fritz added that “It is not just one patient who gets a staph infection, but it was many members of the family prone to the same. Many patients with recurring infections were seen within a year.”

In about one-third of the human population, staphylococcus aureus bacteria usually live harmlessly on the skin. By touching contaminated surfaces or through skin-to-skin contact, this bacteria spreads.

A pus-filled bug bite resembles a typical staph infection and not treating this infection or patients not responding to its treatments can cause issues like severe organ damage, pneumonia, and even death, if it enters the bones, bloodstreams or organs.

For a one-year period, to obtain swab samples from people’s armpits, nostrils, and groins, the researchers visited each of the patient’s home for five times in a year. They collected samples of dogs and cats, from the inside of the nose and also from the animal’s backs, the place where they are petted the most.

Nearly one-third of the dogs and cats and almost half of the people had MRSA at least once over the one-year-long MRSA Superbug spreading in households study.

Fritz said, ” Sometimes, it looked like the dogs and cats spread harmful germs. We assumed that the pets might be a reservoir for the staph germ and they contributed in its spreading. But it turned out to be the other way around as the study showed the dogs and cats got the staph infections from humans.”

In addition to this, researchers tested for staph on various surfaces of the household like bedsheets, light switches, bath towels, refrigerator door handles, television, bathroom countertops, sink faucets,  telephones, and videogame controllers, and computer keyboards and mice.

The study found that than people who did not spread staph, the people from who MRSA spreads to animals or other individuals were 25% more likely to share bath towels. And the people who got MRSA from others in their houses were 23% less likely to be the house owners and 33% were more likely to share bedrooms with the individuals who were infected.

Pets were rarely the sole transmission source of MRSA but were often transmission recipients.

In households where people washed their hands frequently, new strains of MRSA were 14% less likely to show up.

The results of this study suggest that if people practiced regular handwashing, either with a hand sanitizer or soap before eating, before preparing food, after using the bathroom and after changing a diaper are less likely to bring staph into their houses.

Frequent handwashing becomes more essential for families where the children attending daycare, as they are more likely to bring staph into their house.

The study author notes that there is a limitation of the study, which is having different results from households with only adults in the home or without young children.

The research study team concludes by stating that the findings of this study underscore the good hygiene habits which could help in preventing the MRSA Superbug spreading in households.


Editors Note: How does MRSA Superbug spread in households, How to prevent MRSA Superbug spread in households.

Author : Prathibha HC

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