MRSA, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, occurs more frequently in the summer and fall, according to new research.
Dr. Leonard Mermel, lead author and medical director of the department of epidemiology and infection control at Rhode Island Hospital in Providence, and his team analyzed MRSA samples from the hospitals microbiology department that were taken over a 10-year period.
Their research, which was published in the journal PloS ONE, suggests that there were approximately 1.85 times as many community-associated (CA) MRSA infections and 2.94 as many hospital-associated (HA) MRSA infections among children in the summer and fall months as compared to the winter and spring months.
'The presence of both factors, heat and humidity, may be critically important in providing the environmental conditions that facilitate heavy growth of Staphylococcus aureus on the skin,' Mermel said in a statement.
Their findings also show that adults were 1.14 times as likely to contract a CA MRSA infection in the summer and fall months and had little to no seasonal variation in HA MRSA infections.
MRSA is a staph bacteria that is resistant to a certain type of broad class of antibiotics called beta-lactams, which are the most widely used group of antibiotics. Though MRSA infections that occur within the community tend to be mild skin infections, more serious or life-threatening cases are higher when in a hospital or other healthcare facility. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that in 2005 the number of people developing a serious MRSA was over 94,000.