Study: Many MRSA infections can lose their antibiotic resistance

Researchers recommend further research to better understand MRSA reversal

Nearly 30% of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections may regain methicillin susceptibility, at least temporarily, according to a study presented last week at a Society for Investigative Dermatology meeting.

For the study, researchers at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland analyzed 1,496 of the hospital's microbiology culture records. They identified 219 patients who tested positive for a MRSA skin and soft-tissue infection and had a second culture test for the infection at least a month later.

They found that:

  • The MRSA infection at least temporarily became methicillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA) in 29.7% of the cases; and
  • The MRSA infection permanently became MSSA in about 26% of cases.

Based on the findings, the researchers recommend developing a "database of dermatologist-diagnosed primary cutaneous disorders and the infectious history of those patients" to characterize MRSA reversal rates and "help us classify who is at risk for continued MRSA skin and soft-tissue infections and how this affects primary skin disease" (Bankhead, MedPage Today, 5/11).

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