Antibiotic-resistant MRSA is spreading outside hospitals having left its usual breeding grounds, new research reveals.
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), which kills up to one-fifth of infected individuals, is affecting people throughout Britain by going undetected in communities, a study found.
Although the infection is typically associated with hospitals, many sufferers are unaware they carry MRSA, which is symptomless unless it enters the bloodstream. This allows them to spread the life-threatening bacteria through skin-to-skin contact when out and about, the research adds.
Despite patients being routinely screened for the bacteria upon hospital admission, the test is fairly inaccurate, which further encourages the infection to spread.
Dr Jonathan Pearce, head of infections and immunity at the Medical Research Council, who was not involved in the study, said: ‘This study sheds light on MRSA transmission within and between hospitals and the community, which could help strengthen infection prevention and control measures.’