Dangerous drug-defying superbug MRSA jumps from hospitals to strike communities

Eric Allen went to bed March 1, thinking he had a light flu. By the time he staggered into the hospital in London, Ky., the next day, he was coughing up bits of lung tissue. Within hours, organs failing, he was in a coma. Tests showed that Allen, 39, had a ravaging pneumonia caused by Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, an antibiotic-resistant bacteria once confined to hospitals and other health care facilities. Allen hadn’t been near a doctor or a hospital. Same with the next victim, a 54-year-old man, who came in days later and died within hours. And the victim after that, a 28-year-old woman, dead on arrival. The doctors were alarmed. “What really bothered me was the rapidity of their deterioration, a matter of hours,” says Muhammad Iqbal, a pulmonologist who chairs the infection control committee at Saint Joseph-London hospital. “We were worried that something was spreading across the community.” Indeed, a deadly form of MRSA had sprung from nowhere, picking off otherwise healthy people. The cases thrust Iqbal and his colleagues to the front lines of modern medicine’s struggle against antibiotic resistant bacteria — perhaps the nation’s most daunting public health threat. To read the full and original article from the Detroit Free Press, please click the following link:  http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2013312170046