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MRSA has been in Irish hospitals for 40 years, but it's getting more dangerous

New research at TCD is looking to find out which strains will become the most dominant.
Apr 16th 2014, 8:39 AM 4,767 7

MANY OF THE MRSA strains in Irish hospitals are more deadly and antibiotic resistant than previously thought and could become dominant according to a new study.

Researchers at Trinity College Dublin say that MRSA has been endemic in Irish hospitals for nearly 40 years and over the course of that time the dominant strain has been replaced several times.

The new study at the TCD School of Dental Science was attempting to identify which strain would be next to become dominant and found that there was “extensive genetic diversity” in MRSA in Irish hospitals.

“Many of the sporadic MRSA were more resistant to drugs and carried genes that made them particularly virulent and aided their spread between different MRSA samples, which in turn, created further new variants which are more difficult to treat effectively with antibiotics, ” the TCD report said.

The research found that the diversity of MRSA in Irish hospitals is similar to the diversity worldwide, indicating that Irish sporadic MRSA are a microcosm of worldwide MRSA and that many have been imported into Ireland from different countries.

Professor David Coleman of the school explains that although the diversity is similar to worldwide levels, the number is still very high and that research is valuable to fighting the potentially life-threatening infection:

Understanding the detailed characteristics of the pool of sporadic MRSA present in Irish hospitals and ongoing surveillance will permit the early identification of emerging new MRSA strains so that appropriate control measures can be put in place to prevent their spread.

Read: TCD scientists find significant increases in MRSA strains outside of hospitals >

Read: TCD researchers discover how MRSA bacterium is carried in human nose >

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Rónán Duffy

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