The largest epidemic going on inside hospitals and other health care facilities is controlling the infection MRSA. The staph bug causing these infections resists treatment and because it attacks so many people with weakened immune systems, hospital-acquired MRSA accounts for the vast majority of fatal MRSA infections.
But another, unrelated strain of MRSA is circulating in communities across the U.S. This strain is resistant to first-line antibiotics.
News that MRSA is now killing at least 19,000 Americans each year has focused public attention on community-acquired MRSA. Where does it lurk? WebMD asked epidemiologist Jeff Hageman, one of the scientists tracking MRSA at the CDC.
"We see outbreaks in settings where there is crowding, a lot of skin contact, and, often, a lack of good hygiene," Hageman tells WebMD.
Hot spots for these outbreaks have been:
- Athletic settings
- Military barracks
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