SEVERE WX : Red Flag Warning - Heat Advisory View Alerts
STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

'Superbug' Infections On the Rise Among Injection Drug Users

Users of heroin and other injection drugs were 16 times more likely than other people to develop severe illnesses from MRSA, said the report published Thursday.

Posted: Jun 7, 2018 10:36 AM

By MIKE STOBBE , AP Medical Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — One type of superbug bacteria is increasingly spreading among people who inject drugs, according to a new government report.

Users of heroin and other injection drugs were 16 times more likely than other people to develop severe illnesses from MRSA, said the report published Thursday.

"Drug use has crept up and now accounts for a substantial proportion of these very serious infections," said Dr. William Schaffner of Vanderbilt University, one of the study's authors.

The U.S. is in the midst of its deadliest drug epidemic ever. While overdose deaths have been the main concern, some studies have noted HIV and hepatitis C infections are spreading among drug users. The authors say the new report is one of the first — and the largest — to highlight how superbug bacterial infections are spreading, too.

MRSA, or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus bacteria, often live on the skin without causing symptoms. But they can become more dangerous if they enter the bloodstream, destroying heart valves or causing other damage. Health officials have tied MRSA to as many as 11,000 U.S. deaths a year.

Public health efforts have focused on MRSA's spread in hospitals and nursing homes, and infection-control campaigns have been credited for recent drops in MRSA infections at health care facilities.

But as that success story has unfolded, MRSA infections tied to illicit drug use have risen.

The opioid epidemic began with abuse of prescription pain pills, but in recent years has shifted to heroin and other injectable drugs.

MRSA "is on the skin, and as the needle goes into the skin it brings the bacteria with it," explained Dr. Isaac See of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, another of the study's authors.

The proportion of invasive, bloodstream-infecting MRSA cases that occurred among injection drug users more than doubled in five years, the study found. In 2011, 4 percent of those MRSA cases involved injection drug users; in 2016, the proportion was 9 percent.

The report is based on infections diagnosed at hospitals across Connecticut and in parts of California, Georgia, Minnesota, New York and Tennessee. Data were collected from 2005 through 2016.

About 39,000 invasive MRSA cases were reported, including about 2,100 among people who inject drugs.

___

The Associated Press Health & Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 219755

Reported Deaths: 2858
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah41855618
Washington27838258
Marion24509333
Clackamas19964242
Lane14885174
Jackson12709156
Deschutes1056587
Umatilla958794
Linn627782
Yamhill507481
Klamath494479
Douglas451888
Polk431457
Josephine416975
Malheur366667
Benton347422
Jefferson249942
Coos231939
Columbia208732
Union169424
Wasco156131
Lincoln154422
Crook139924
Hood River126734
Morrow122917
Clatsop117610
Baker111517
Curry79112
Tillamook7605
Grant5637
Lake4868
Harney46011
Wallowa2396
Gilliam871
Sherman872
Wheeler441
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3966943

Reported Deaths: 64429
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles130334324691
Riverside3085464662
San Bernardino3067695240
San Diego2980023798
Orange2824265144
Santa Clara1234042099
Sacramento1157321781
Kern1132161425
Fresno1046391746
Alameda971211286
Ventura838691044
Contra Costa77708834
San Joaquin769151460
Stanislaus658931095
Tulare50409854
San Mateo44622588
Monterey44523528
San Francisco40544563
Solano36004263
Santa Barbara35741467
Merced33321485
Sonoma32880330
Imperial29164745
Placer25146307
Kings23765251
San Luis Obispo21970265
Madera17058249
Santa Cruz16616207
Marin14958239
Yolo14863215
Butte13235205
Shasta13043242
El Dorado11125120
Napa1044282
Sutter10203127
Yuba700450
San Benito628263
Tehama589266
Lassen588826
Nevada541675
Humboldt511453
Mendocino471052
Tuolumne453573
Lake423866
Amador387748
Siskiyou256640
Glenn246527
Colusa235718
Calaveras231658
Del Norte16688
Inyo147338
Mono13265
Plumas7726
Modoc5767
Mariposa5007
Trinity4676
Sierra1310
Alpine890
Unassigned660
Medford
Partly Cloudy
82° wxIcon
Hi: 95° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 82°
Brookings
Partly Cloudy
52° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 52°
Crater Lake
Partly Cloudy
82° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 82°
Grants Pass
Partly Cloudy
82° wxIcon
Hi: 102° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 82°
Klamath Falls
Partly Cloudy
80° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 79°
Drier, but still hot, on Monday
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events

Latest Video

Image

Health Watch: Sports Physicals

Image

Monday, August 2 morning weather

Image

Sunday, August 1st Weather

Image

Sunday, August 1st Weather

Image

Dick Fosbury and the 'Fosbury Flop'

Image

Saturday, July 31st Weather

Image

Health experts' covid vaccine recommendations for pregnant women

Image

Umpqua Bank Robbery Investigation

Image

Saturday, July 31st Weather

Image

Friday, July 30th Overnight Weather