UC Irvine scientist to study staph infection prevention

Staphylococcus aureus
Staphylococcus aureus Esther Simpson/Flickr (Creative Commons)

A UC Irvine researcher has nabbed a major grant to study how to prevent antibiotic-resistant infections in discharged hospital patients. The $10 million federal grant will cover a three-year study.

Everybody carries bacteria on and in their bodies. But some people carry MRSA, a highly contagious form of staph that resists the antibiotics doctors use to treat staph infections.

MRSA infects about a quarter of the people who carry it within a year of their release from hospitals or nursing homes. The infection is so serious, they often have to be re-admitted.

Dr. Susan Huang at UCI will use the federal grant money – from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act – to study prevention strategies.

She and other researchers will run a random trial at hospitals in Orange County and southern Los Angeles County.

Patients with MRSA will test anti-bacterial nasal ointments, mouth rinses and body washes.

Researchers will see whether any of those treatments lower the number of MRSA infections in people who carry the resistant bacteria.

Huang says other studies have focused on preventing the transmission of MRSA. This one will try to determine how to prevent the infections from starting in the first place.

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