Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Sexually-active gay men vulnerable to new, highly infectious bacteria

Sexually active gay men are many times more likely than others to acquire a new, highly antibiotic-resistant strain of the so-called MRSA bacteria widely know as the "superbug," a UCSF-led study shows.

The bacteria appear to be transmitted most easily through intimate sexual contact, but can spread through casual skin-to-skin contact or contact with contaminated surfaces. The scientists are concerned that it could soon gain ground in the general population.

The new strain of bacteria is closely related to the MRSA bacteria that have spread beyond hospital borders in recent years and caused outbreaks of severe skin and other infections. But the newly discovered microbe is resistant to many more front-line antibiotics. Both strains are technically known as MRSA USA300.

Like its less antibiotic-resistant sibling, the new multi-drug resistant microbe spreads easily through skin-to-skin contact, invading skin and tissue beneath the skin. Both strains cause abscesses and ulcerations that can progress rapidly to life-threatening infections.

... more about:
»MRSA »infections »microbe »resistant »skin-to-skin »strain

"These multi-drug resistant infections often affect gay men at body sites in which skin-to-skin contact occurs during sexual activities," says Binh Diep, PhD, UCSF postdoctoral scientist at San Francisco General Hospital Medical Center and lead author of a report on the finding.

"But because the bacteria can be spread by more casual contact, we are also very concerned about a potential spread of this strain into the general population."

A good scrubbing with soap and water may be the most effective way to prevent skin-to-skin contact transmission, especially after sexual activities, Diep says.

The scientists did not address the cause of the increased risk among gay men, but suspect that sexual risk behaviors play a significant role.

The study is based on review of medical records from outpatient clinics in San Francisco and Boston as well as nine of 10 medical centers serving San Francisco.

The research appears in the January 14 early online edition of the "Annals of Internal Medicine." It will appear in the print edition February 19, along with a related editorial.

Diep considers the rapid rise in infections alarming. About one in 588 people living in San Francisco’s Castro district – a neighborhood with the highest number of gay residents in the country – are infected with the multi-drug resistant MRSA bacteria. About one in 3800 San Franciscans overall are infected – also a surprisingly high number, he says. These statistics come from the scientists’ study of MRSA samples previously collected from patients in nine medical centers serving San Francisco.

In a second part of the study based on patient medical charts, the scientists found that sexually active gay men in San Francisco are about 13 times more likely to be infected than the general population.

"The potential widespread dissemination of multi-resistant form of USA300 into the general population is alarming," he adds. The microbe is known as "multidrug-resistant, community-associated MRSA USA300." MRSA stands for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Until recently, MRSA bacteria were confined to hospitals, where extensive use of antibiotics has prompted highly resistant strains to evolve. The spread of multidrug resistant MRSA into communities, first reported by the UCSF team in 2006 (Lancet. 2006:367:731-9), has led to heightened concern.

The microbe studied here differs from the more familiar community-associated MRSA in that it is resistant not only to methicillin, but also resistant to a battery of normally effective, first-line antibiotics.

"Prompt diagnosis and the right treatment are crucial to prevent life-threatening infections and the spread of this bacteria to close contacts," says study author Henry Chambers, MD, UCSF professor of medicine at San Francisco General Hospital Medical Center and lead scientist of a large multi-centered clinical trial recently funded by the National Institute of Health to study treatment of community-associated MRSA infections.

The scientists conclude that research should be undertaken to explore the link between MRSA and unsafe sexual risk behaviors.

Wallace Ravven | EurekAlert!
Further information:

Further reports about: MRSA infections microbe resistant skin-to-skin strain

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Molecular doorstop could be key to new tuberculosis drugs
20.03.2018 | Rockefeller University

nachricht Modified biomaterials self-assemble on temperature cues
20.03.2018 | Duke University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

Im Focus: Tiny implants for cells are functional in vivo

For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.

In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Physicists made crystal lattice from polaritons

20.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

20.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Thawing permafrost produces more methane than expected

20.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>