MRSA might be gaining antimicrobial resistance, study shows

According to a new study, the overuse of over-the-counter anti-bacterial skin treatments in the United States might be leading to the development of a new antimicrobial resistant strain of MRSA, a contagious staph bacteria.

The study, which was undertaken by Japanese researchers and appears in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s monthly peer-reviewed journal, tested 259 MRSA strains for their susceptibility to bacitracin and neomycin, according to CNN.

Bacitracin and neomycin are commonly found in OTC ointments like Neosporin and Polysporin, which are generally not sold outside of the United States. Ointments of this kind are known as triple antibiotics.

The researchers found that resistance to bactracin and neomycin were only discovered in the strain of MRSA known as USA300, which is only found in the United States, leading the researchers to believe that there is a link between the use of triple antibacterial ointments and the development of the resistant strain.

“People should understand that triple antibiotic is not almighty, and avoid preventive or excessive use of this ointment,” Masahiro Suzuki, with the Aichi Prefectural Institute of Public Health in Nagoya, Japan, said, CNN reports.

MRSA usually results in skin infections. It was originally primarily contracted in medical settings, but has become increasingly contracted in settings like athletic facilities. MRSA resulted in the hospitalizations of 278,000 people last year and in more than 18,000 deaths in 2005.