A drug-resistant strain of potentially deadly bacteria has moved beyond the borders of U.S. hospitals and is being transmitted among gay men during sex, researchers said on Monday.
They said methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, is beginning to appear outside hospitals in San Francisco, Boston, New York and Los Angeles.
Sexually active gay men in San Francisco are 13 times more likely to be infected than their heterosexual neighbors, the researchers reported in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
The findings have been reported in the Annals of Internal Medicine, says Binh Diep, a researcher at the University of California.
Why is it so particularly contagious in the homosexual community?
Of those people who carry staph, most carry it in their noses but community-based MRSA also can live in and around the anus and is passed between sexual partners.
Incidence of MRSA is rising along with the resurgence of syphilis, rectal gonorrhea, and new HIV infections partly because of changes in beliefs about the severity of HIV and an increase in risky behaviors, such as illicit drug use and having sex that abrades the skin, Diep’s team wrote.
The article also indicates it’s not something to be cavalier about:
This superbug can cause life-threatening and disfiguring infections and can often only be treated with expensive, intravenous antibiotics.
It killed about 19,000 Americans in 2005, most of them in hospitals, according to a report published in October in the Journal of the American Medical Association.