Bacteria tied to 19,000 U.S. deaths

October 17, 2007

A study of a virulent drug-resistant bacterium has tied the infection to nearly 19,000 U.S. deaths in 2005.

The mortality estimates of the germ -- methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, also known as MRSA -- exceed the individual mortality rates in the United States for AIDS, Parkinson's disease, emphysema and homicide, The New York Times reported Wednesday.

R. Monina Klevens, leader of the U.S. government study -- published in Wednesday's issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association -- said the infection appears to be twice as prevalent as previously believed.

"This is a significant public health problem. We should be very worried," Scott Fridkin, a medical epidemiologist at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told The Washington Post.

The researchers said the study of the bacteria's prevalence only included the most serious infections.

"It's really just the tip of the iceberg," said Elizabeth A. Bancroft, a medical epidemiologist at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health who authored an editorial that accompanied the study. "It is astounding."

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

Explore further: Surprisingly, low-toxin MRSA strains may be the real killer

Related Stories

Surprisingly, low-toxin MRSA strains may be the real killer

September 3, 2015

The most serious MRSA infections could be those caused by superbugs which produce fewer toxins, as opposed to high toxin strains, according to surprise findings revealed today by scientists from the Department of Biology ...

Pentagon funding new high-tech venture

August 28, 2015

Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced Friday that the Pentagon is funding a new venture to develop cutting-edge electronics and sensors that can flex and stretch and could be built into clothing or the skins of ships and ...

Staying safe in sandy beaches

August 28, 2015

Beach sand contains all kinds of microorganisms, including those that can harm human health. Yet current guidelines are focused exclusively on monitoring the levels of microbes in the water.

Balancing biobanks with the law

August 26, 2015

When biobanks were created, the idea was that scientists could have quick access to samples they could use without having to get new specimens every time they needed to do research.

Recommended for you

How the finch changes its tune

August 3, 2015

Like top musicians, songbirds train from a young age to weed out errors and trim variability from their songs, ultimately becoming consistent and reliable performers. But as with human musicians, even the best are not machines. ...

Machine Translates Thoughts into Speech in Real Time

December 21, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- By implanting an electrode into the brain of a person with locked-in syndrome, scientists have demonstrated how to wirelessly transmit neural signals to a speech synthesizer. The "thought-to-speech" process ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

bobwinners
2 / 5 (1) Oct 18, 2007
Ok. Now what are the statistics for MRSA deaths on a worldwide basis?

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.