Household surfaces can harbor MRSA strain: study

New York – The antibiotic-resistant “superbug” commonly referred to as MRSA can be found in homes and is no longer confined to hospitals, nursing homes and locker rooms, according to a study from Columbia University Medical Center.

Researchers analyzed 161 cases of New York City residents who had contracted skin infections from methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus – which can be life-threatening – between 2009 and 2011. Household surfaces were tested to see whether the bacteria existed, and people’s homes were found to be “major reservoirs” of a MRSA strain called USA300.

Lead researcher Dr. Anne-Catrin Uhlemann advised using bleach to clean surfaces and hot water to wash bedding and clothes an infected person has used. Uhlemann also cautioned against the misuse or overuse of antibiotics, which she said has helped the USA300 strain spread.

The study was published April 21 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.