Tuesday, October 16, 2007

A Newly Discovered Bacteria That Could Be More Deadly Than HIV/AIDS

excerpt from:

Infection Killed Almost 19,000 in 2005, Study Says - New York Times

ATLANTA, Oct. 16 — Nearly 19,000 people died in the United States in 2005 after being infected with a virulent drug-resistant bacterium that has spread rampantly through hospitals and nursing homes, according to the most thorough study to be conducted of the disease's prevalence

The study, which was published today in The Journal of the American Medical Association , suggests that invasive infections with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or M.R.S.A., may be twice as common as previously thought, according to its lead author, Dr. R. Monina Klevens. If the mortality estimates are correct, the number of deaths associated with M.R.S.A. each year would exceed those attributed to HIV/AIDS, Parkinson's disease , emphysema or homicide.

By extrapolating data collected in nine locations, the researchers established the first true baseline for M.R.S.A. in the United States, projecting that 94,360 patients developed an invasive infection from the pathogen in 2005 and that nearly one of every five, or 18,650 of them, died.

The authors, who work for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cautioned that their methodology differed significantly from previous studies and that direct comparisons were therefore risky. But they said they were surprised by the prevalence of the serious infections they found, which they calculated as 32 cases per 100,000 people

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