Large city hospitals act as a breeding ground for the superbug MRSA, according to a new study.
Scientists have found evidence to show how MRSA bacteria spread between hospitals throughout the country.
The University of Edinburgh study showed that variants of the infection found in regional hospitals were likely to have originated in major city hospitals.
Researchers at the university’s Roslin Institute studied more than 80 variants of a clone of MRSA found in hospitals, identifying mutations from the original bug and tracing their spread around the country.
Dr Ross Fitzgerald, of the Roslin Institute, said: “We found that variants of MRSA circulating in regional hospitals probably originated in large city hospitals. The high levels of patient traffic in large hospitals means they act as a hub for transmission between patients, who may then be transferred or treated in regional hospitals.”
Scientists say that the findings could help them discover ways to prevent the spread of MRSA (methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus), which has become increasingly resistant to antibiotics since it first appeared 50 years ago.
Paul McAdam, of the Roslin Institute and first author of the research paper, said: “Our findings suggest that the referral of patients to different hospitals is a major cause of MRSA transmission around the country. This knowledge could help in finding ways to prevent the spread of infections.”
The study also found that the MRSA strain first evolved from antibiotic-sensitive bacteria that existed more than 100 years ago.
For more information on MRSA, visit the STV Health Centre, brought to you by NHS inform.
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