Entries in Superbug (2)


MRSA 'Superbug' Bacteria Found in Detroit Meat

Chad Baker/Photodisc/Thinkstock(DETROIT) -- First they were riding on bedbugs. Now, drug-resistant superbugs are showing up in supermarket meat. Raw beef, chicken and turkey from Detroit grocery stores contained methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a sinister strain of bacteria that doesn't respond to typical antibiotics, researchers reported Wednesday.

It may sound scary, but it's no reason to go vegetarian, experts say.

"We've known for a long time that raw meat and poultry purchased in supermarkets can be contaminated with bugs that can make us sick, like salmonella and E. coli. As long as we clean our hands and our utensils and we cook the food, we kill the bacteria," said Dr. William Schaffner, chair of preventive medicine at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville. "Even though this is a new bug, that shouldn't change anything. It should just reinforce all those messages."

The study, reported online Wednesday in Emerging Infectious Diseases -- the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's journal, is not the first to find MRSA in meat. But very few have ever come out of the United States, so it's making headlines nationwide.

"Previous studies have shown MRSA in pork and beef, but we found MRSA poultry in our study," said report author Dr. Yifan Zhang, assistant professor in the department of nutrition and food science at Wayne State University in Detroit, who said she was surprised at the stir her study created.

"The most important thing in this study is, we don't want to scare people," Zhang said. "Overall, the U.S. food supply is safe."

"Wash your hands before and after handling meat, and if you have cuts on your hands, wear gloves," she said, adding that normal soap and cleaning products are sufficient to kill the germ.

MRSA infection rates -- in hospitals and the community at large -- have declined in the past decade, according to CDC statistics. Nevertheless, the study raises important questions about where the meaty MRSA is coming from -- the animals or the humans who handle their meat.

Most healthy people are not at risk for a Staphylococcus aureus infection. In fact, one in three people carries the bacteria on their skin or in their nose and never knows it. But the finding of MRSA in grocery meat should serve as a reminder to keep clean and cook well, Schaffner said.

"We should always remember: The food in our supermarket is not sterile. We live in a germy world and we have to respect that."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Potentially Lethal Superbug Spreading in Illinois Hospitals

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(CHICAGO) -- Health officials are worried that a potentially lethal germ called KPC may be spreading fast throughout health care facilities in and around Chicago.  It's formed when common bacteria create Klebsiella Pneumoniae Carbapenemase, making them resistant to antibiotics and extremely difficult to treat. 

Thirty-seven Chicago health care facilities have reported cases this year.  That is a 42 percent increase from last year and has the medical community worried.  A survey presented Friday at the annual meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of America finds that while the number of infections is still low, the increase is sharp.  Study co-author Dr. Mary Haydn of Rush University Medical Center says it's especially troublesome because KPC was first reported in Chicago as recently as December 2007.

So far most cases have been limited to nursing homes.  Haydn says in addition to making sure health care professionals are careful in handling infected patients, hospitals and nursing homes must work harder to communicate when an infected patient is being transferred.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio