- CHICAGO (AP) - An antibiotic-resistant strain of staph infection that was
once largely confined to hospitals is spreading to communities, a study
- The strain has been treated with penicillin
and other common antibiotics for so long that it can now withstand them.
Even vancomycin, a potent antibiotic of last resort, sometimes fails against
- A co-author of the study, Dr. Robert
S. Daum, director of pediatric infectious diseases at the University of
Chicago Children's Hospital, said the finding underscores the need to stop
prescribing so many antibiotics.
- ``Colds and flu and stuff go away by
themselves the vast majority of times, and it's very rare that it needs
an antibiotic,'' he said.
- ``We should regard antibiotics as the
precious resource that are. They may not be here forever to help us, and
they are for special circumstances, not to be used in everyday life or
- Staph bacteria are the No. 1 cause of
hospital-acquired infections in the United States, blamed for 13 percent
of the 2 million hospital infections annually. The 2 million infections
kill 60,000 to 80,000 people.
- In the study, the number of children
admitted to the University of Chicago Children's Hospital with methicillin-resistant
staphyloccoccus aureous infections that were acquired outside the hospital
rose from eight in 1988 to 35 in 1995.
- ``This same experience is being seen
at many other centers around the country,'' Daum said. ``A lot of centers
are seeing this and talking about it.''
- The study was reported in Wednesday's
Journal of the American Medical Association.
- In an accompanying editorial, Dr. John
M. Boyce of Miriam Hospital and Brown University in Providence, R.I., cautioned
that some of these infections may have actually originated in health-care