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Deadly 'superbugs' escaped hospitals, now infecting homes


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(NaturalNews) One of the most virulent pathogens known to man is no longer just a threat at dirty hospitals, according to a new report. For the first time, the antibiotic-resistant superbug methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) has been identified in common households, and researchers from the Columbia University Medical Center in New York City say the problem will likely only get worse over time.

So-called "superbugs" are the direct result of antibiotic overuse both on commercial farms and in Western medicine. Their increasing prevalence in hospitals all around the world is becoming widely known, with many in the media now calling for a massive reduction in antibiotic use across all applications for the preservation of public health.

But little is known about where else these deadly critters might be hiding, that is with the exception of new research based out of New York City. It is here where researchers recently discovered that superbugs like MRSA are literally jumping ship from hospitals into people's homes, which are becoming "major reservoirs" for these deadly strains.

As published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), the study involved looking at the homes of 161 New York City residents who contracted MRSA between the years of 2009 and 2011. Dr. Anne-Catrin Uhlemann and her colleagues took bacterial samples from each of the individuals, as well as from a comparison group not infected with the pathogen.

The researchers also swabbed the surfaces of the infected individuals' homes to test for S. aureus, as well as looked at family members, friends and other people within their respective social circles, who may have come into contact with the bacteria. From this, they cross-analyzed the data and arrived at some shocking conclusions.

According to the report, a common MRSA strain known as USA300, which CBS News says is a leading cause of community MRSA infections across the U.S., was found inside the homes of many of the infected participants. It was also found in a similar genetic form in these participants' family members, suggesting that MRSA literally breeds within individual households when not fully eradicated.

"We can't just treat the person with the infection," stated Uhlemann about the chilling discovery. "We have to attempt to remove the (MRSA) colonization from the home."

Patients can become carriers who spread superbugs

Experts remain uncertain with regards to how significant the threat of a superbug infection is from surfaces, as bacteria tend not to survive very long without access to appropriate temperatures and moisture levels. But almost everyone is in agreement that it is probably not a good idea to leave surfaces unattended and to always sanitize them to avoid infection.

Human beings are a much bigger threat, as they can act as disease carriers following infection. If the bacteria is not completely eliminated from a patient's body before he or she leaves the hospital, the potential spread of MRSA and other deadly superbugs appears to be limitless. And the effectiveness of antibiotics would only further deteriorate as a result.

"If we're not careful, the medicine chest will be empty when we go there to look for a lifesaving antibiotic for someone with a deadly infection," suggests Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). "If we act now, we can preserve these medications while we continue to work on lifesaving medications."

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