(c) MRSA Action UK May 2009
MRSA Survivors Network, the prominent advocacy group in the
MRSA activists, including MRSA Action UK, are calling for world unity from governments, the healthcare industry and the community for a greater response to MRSA and other resistant pathogens. In a bid for everyone to gain a greater understanding this web-page gives a potted history of MRSA.
October 2nd 1960 was the day when Professor Patricia Jevons observed Staphylococcus aureus that was resistant to the antibiotic Methicillin. This new drug, also known as the chemical compound BRL 1241, had been published in the British Medical Journal as a suitable alternative to Penicillin for resistant strains of Staphylococcus aureus just a month beforehand (September 3rd 1960). There was some caution reserved in the publication with resistance being shown in lower doses of the drug. Shortly after in February 1961 the British Medical Journal cited Professor Jevons observation of the resistant pathogen that we now know as MRSA. It soon became endemic in
M stands for methicillin, a chemical derivative of penicillin, first called BRL 1241 because it was developed during the 1950s in the Beecham Research Laboratories at Betchworth in
The name Staphylococcus is derived from the Greek word staphyle or "bunch of grapes" because of the characteristic cluster-like appearance of the bacteria under the microscope. Due to its golden appearance Staphylococcus aureas was chosen (Aureas being a Roman golden coin).
There are 32 species of staphylococci, but only 17 are indigenous to humans.
Staphylococcus aureas is especially prevalent due to its surface proteins, which allow the organism to bind to tissues and foreign bodies coated with collagen, fibronectin, and fibrinogen. This permits the bacteria to adhere to devices such as sutures, catheters, and prosthetic valves.
Alexander Fleming was studying Staphylococcus aureas at St Mary's Hospital London when he discovered penicillin in 1928, and the first patient to be treated in the first clinical trial of the new antibiotic at
Albert Alexander, a 43-year-old policeman, was suffering from a spreading infection of his face that had started with a rose thorn scratch. He had lost an eye and the infection had spread to his lungs and his shoulder. On 12 February 1941 he was injected with penicillin made by Howard Florey and his team. Alexander's condition improved dramatically. Treatment continued for five days. But ten days later he relapsed, dying of staphylococcal septicaemia on 15 March: the supplies of antibiotic had run out despite attempts to make up for the depleted supply by extracting it from his urine for re-use.
Penicillin revolutionised the treatment of Staphylococcal infections. But its power over them began to wane soon after its general introduction. The first naturally occurring penicillin-resistant Staphylococci were noted by Fleming in 1942. Between April and November 1946, 12.5 per cent of Staphylococcus aureas strains isolated at the
Florence Nightingale had revolutionised healthcare in the Crimean War, and following her methods after the turn of the century wards were well ordered and clean, strict attention to hygiene, assiduous hand washing and aseptic conditions meant every precaution to avoid infection was taken. We were however about to become over reliant on antibiotics, and a culture developed where the strict discipline and skills needed to do the sick no harm seemed to relax.
With bacteria developing more and more resistance, and the most common surgical bacteria Staphylococcus aureas evolving, the first culture of Staph aureas found to be resistant to Methicillin was identified under a microscope at Colindale Laboratories in
MRSA has now evolved and spread, is endemic in our hospitals, and now in the community. The countries in Northern Europe adopted a strict Search and Destroy policy that was developed here in
We are now beginning to reintroduce the strict policies here in the
Timeline of Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureas
1959: Methicillin is introduced as an antibiotic 1961: Bacteriologist Professor Patricia Jevons discovers first Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureas (MRSA) in 1968: First report of MRSA in American hospitals in 1974: MRSA accounts for 2% of hospital Staph infection in the 1981: First reports of MRSA acquired in the community, while MRSA in hospitals rises steadily 1997: MRSA accounts for 50% of hospital Staph infections 1998: 1999: CDC reports deaths of four otherwise healthy children from community-acquired MRSA 2002: 2007: CDC estimates that MRSA causes 94,000 severe infections each year, killing 19,000 Sources: CDC,
Methicillin is introduced as an antibiotic
Bacteriologist Professor Patricia Jevons discovers first Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureas (MRSA) in
First report of MRSA in American hospitals in
MRSA accounts for 2% of hospital Staph infection in the
First reports of MRSA acquired in the community, while MRSA in hospitals rises steadily
MRSA accounts for 50% of hospital Staph infections
CDC reports deaths of four otherwise healthy children from community-acquired MRSA
CDC estimates that MRSA causes 94,000 severe infections each year, killing 19,000
|European Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance System - MRSA in Europe 2007||Number||Total||Percentage|
|Susceptible||Resistant||Number of recorded bloodstream infections||Susceptible||Resistant|
|Recorded MRSA that is non susceptible to Cloxacillin or Dicloxacillin or Flucloxacillin or Methicillin or Oxacillin or Cefoxitin in participating European countries 2007|
Don't pick your nose, Hugh Pennington - Stationery Office, July 2004, 0 10 292915 7
BRL 1241 - BRITISH MEDICAL JOURNAL SEPT.3,1960
CORRESPONDENCE - BRITISH MEDICAL JOURNAL JAN.14,1961
For further information on events in the USA, activist participation and how organisations or companies can become official sponsors contact:Jeanine Thomas
MRSA Survivors Network
For events or details of being an official sponsor in the
If you or someone you care about has been affected by a healthcare infection and you wish to discuss this with us, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org