HFHS LogoA latest study by experts from Henry Ford Hospital has shown that a strain of MRSA which causes bloodstream infections may be five times more fatal as compared to other strains. In addition, MRSA appears to have shown some resistance to the potent antibiotic drug vancomycin, used to treat it.

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is known to be a bacterium that is resistant to common antibiotics like penicillin. More so, it could perhaps cause skin, bloodstream and surgical wound infections and pneumonia. Majority of the infections seem to arise among patients in hospitals or other health care settings, though an increasing number of infections are being acquired by otherwise healthy people outside those settings.

The study authors were of the opinion that the strain USA600 may contain unique characteristics that can be linked to the high mortality rate. However, they say it is unclear whether other factors like the patients’ older age, diseases or the spread of infection appear to have contributed to the poor outcomes collectively or with other factors.

It was believed that the average age of patients with the USA600 strain was 64 years while the average age of patients with other MRSA strains was 52 years. Moreover, the USA600 strain in this study was noted to have shown to be more resistant to vancomycin.

“While many MRSA strains are associated with poor outcomes, the USA600 strain has shown to be more lethal and cause high mortality rates,” says lead author of the study, Carol Moore, PharmD, an investigator in Henry Ford’s Division of Infectious Diseases.

“In light of the potential for the spread of this virulent and resistant strain and its associated mortality, it is essential that more effort be directed to better understanding this strain to develop measures for managing it,” continues Moore.

MRSA strains could be resistant to several drugs, although they are usually susceptible to the antibiotic vancomycin. Supposedly, MRSA infections are often treated with vancomycin administered intravenously.

The findings of the study revealed that approximately 50 percent of the patients infected with the strain seem to have died within 30 days in contrast to 11 percent of patients infected with other MRSA strains. The average 30-day mortality rate for MRSA bloodstream infections is known to range from 10 percent to 30 percent.

The findings of the study have been presented at the 47th annual meeting of the Infection Diseases Society of America in Philadelphia.