Once rare, the superbug methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infects hundreds of thousands of people in the U.S. each year and kills about 20,000. Antibiotic overuse has made MRSA more common and difficult to treat because of the bacteria’s contagiousness coupled with its resistance to standard infection-fighting drugs. Infected individuals also face a high risk of recurrence.
New research led by Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis sheds light on how MRSA is introduced into households and, once there, how it can spread among family members, including the furry ones. Understanding MRSA’s transmission dynamics is critical to devising effective preventive tactics.