Is the way we raise our food giving us MRSA?The antibiotics fed to the farm animals we eat may have helped to create superbugs like the drug-resistant staph bacteria known as MRSA.
By Alex Koppelman
Nov. 07, 2007 | You may want to put down your BLT before reading this, because there's a chance that the most delicious part of your sandwich -- the bacon, of course -- may be playing a role in the latest national health scare.
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, also known as MRSA -- or, in the parlance of New York tabloids, "super staph" -- is an antibiotic-resistant version of one of the bacteria collectively known as staph. Staph, which can cause everything from skin infections to more life-threatening diseases, usually attacks older hospital patients who develop infections after surgery. The newer, often more virulent strains collectively known as CA-MRSA (community-acquired MRSA) have been all over the news in the past few weeks, as they affect people younger and healthier than the usual targets. A recent study suggested that MRSA infection was responsible for almost 19,000 deaths in the United States last year -- more than AIDS -- including the very public deaths of children and adolescents in Virginia, New York and elsewhere. Public health officials have tried to quiet fears, but the problem could get worse. MRSA remains treatable with a number of different antibiotics, but there are already signs that resistance to some of those drugs might be just around the corner. ( more reasons to go organicCollapse )