Met­ric tons

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA -

More than 50,200 non-an­tibi­otic com­pounds were tested for their re­ac­tions to MRSA. Among them, Kao found that after be­ing in­jected with M-21 the bug ex­hib­ited sig­nif­i­cantly lower lu­mi­nes­cence. “This in­di­cated that M-21 hin­ders MRSA from pro­duc­ing tox­ins,” he said.

To Kao, S.au­reus is a stealthy en­emy. About one-third of peo­ple world­wide have some in their nose or on their skin. This pat­tern of co­ex­is­tence is decades old, but the pathogen rarely at­tacks the host.

Staph in­fec­tion only hap­pens when the bac­te­ria pen­e­trates the body, ei­ther through a break in the skin or through the di­ges­tive or res­pi­ra­tory tracts. The in­fec­tion causes dam­age rang­ing from mi­nor skin le­sions to more se­ri­ous con­di­tions such as pneu­mo­nia or en­do­cardi­tis, an in­fec­tion of the heart‘s in­ner lin­ing.

In 2009, Ho Pak-le­ung, hon­orary con­sul­tant at Hong Kong’s Queen Mary Hospi­tal, con­fronted an in­tim­i­dat­ing MRSA in­fec­tion.

A 42-year-old man who had A-type swine flu (aka H1N1) ac­quired MRSA in the com­mu­nity — known as CA-MRSA — and died two days after be­ing ad­mit­ted to the hospi­tal.

“We treated him us­ing ag­gres­sive med­i­ca­tions, but they were of no help,” Ho re­called. “The pa­tient died of pneu­mo­nia.”

MRSA not only de­stroyed lives, it drove up med­i­cal costs, mainly due to pa­tients’ pro­longed stays in hospi­tal. Ac­cord­ing to a 2013 Cal­i­for­nia study, the av­er­age hospi­tal cost was around $14,000 per MRSA case, around twice the cost of other hospi­tal stays.

Be­fore, most MRSA oc­cur­rences emerged from hos­pi­tals or health­care in­sti­tu­tions, where the risk of in­fec­tion was higher, and were iden­ti­fied as hospi­tal-as­so­ci­ated MRSA, or HA-MRSA.

Though Hong Kong’s first of­fi­cial CA-MRSA case was recorded in 2004, Ho said the first case ac­tu­ally oc­curred in March, 2001, when an 8-month-old boy who dis­played a num­ber of se­vere ill­nesses died 26 hours after be­ing hos­pi­tal­ized.

Since then, Ho, chair­man of the Health Pro­tec­tion Pro­gram for An­timi­cro­bial Re­sis­tance at the Cen­tre for Health Pro­tec­tion, has been mon­i­tor­ing and ob­serv­ing the trans­mis­sion of the su­per­bug.

Ho, a close col­league of Kao, is an avid re­searcher. He con­trib­uted to Kao’s non-an­tibi­otic study, and both men be­lieve the overuse of an­tibi­otics has helped S.au­reus de­velop re­sis­tance to many of them.

In the first half of this year, Hong Kong saw 632 CA-MRSA in­fec­tions, ac­cord­ing to the Cen­ter for Health Pro­tec­tion, more than twice the num­ber re­ported dur­ing the whole of 2008.

Ac­cord­ing to a re­cent sur­vey, about 49 per­cent of 1,200 peo­ple ques­tioned in the city said they took an­tibi­otics last year, up from 34.6 per­cent in 2011.

In a sep­a­rate study, 97.9 per­cent of 1,255 in­ter­vie­wees said they

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