Drug-Proof Superbug Turns Deadly

Antibiotic-resistant staph kills more Americans than AIDS
By Sam Gale Rosen,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 16, 2007 11:26 PM CDT
Drug-Proof Superbug Turns Deadly
Fred Bledsoe, of Fort Wayne, Indiana, holds a vial of the bacteriophage his staph infection was treated with in the former Soviet Union's Republic of Georgia.   (KRT Photos)

(Newser) – An antibiotic-resistant strain of staph kills more Americans each year than HIV, accounting for almost 19,000 deaths annually, the first national stats on the superbug reveal. The super-staph is treatable but can quickly lead to dangerous "flesh-eating" infections. "We really need to be on guard against these emerging organisms," one epidemiologist tells the Washington Post.

Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, most commonly attacks the very young and very old, and African Americans are also particularly at risk. "In the last five weeks I've taken care of five children who were sick enough to be hospitalized and require intensive care. This is a very dangerous disease," says a Chicago doctor. (Read more antibiotics stories.)

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