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Antibiotics, household cleaners may spread multidrug resistance

By Chioma Obinna

Scientists have found that antibiotic use on people or pets, and use of biocidal cleaning products such as bleach are associated with multidrug resistance in methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in the home.

In a study published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology, they found that this contamination of the home environment may contribute to reinfection of both humans and animals with MRSA, and to subsequent failure of treatment.

GRADUATION: From Left: Chairman, Faculty of Family Medicine, Dr. Emmanuel Amao; Faculty of Anaesthesia, Dr. Benjamin Bolaji; College Vice-President, Prof. Opubo da Lilly-Tariah; College President, Prof. Ademola Olaitan and College Treasurer Prof. Stanley Anyanwu at the 2nd Diplomates graduation ceremony held at the College Auditorium in Lagos.

According to Jonathan Shahbazian, Multidrug resistance to MRSA and reinfection with MRSA were the most important in the study. The study also showed that whether used in humans or companion animals, the antibiotic clindamycin was not associated with the risk of multi-drug resistant bacteria in the home.

“We also found the presence of domestic pets was associated with multidrug resistant MRSA in the home environment, while the presence of unwanted pests, such as mice or cockroaches, was associated with non-multidrug resistant MRSA strains.”

In the study, the investigators collected samples from the home environments and companion animals of households enrolled in a large randomized controlled trial, which took place over a 14 month period.

Based on the evidence, they strongly suspected that environmental contamination of the home with MRSA contributes to recurrence.

The investigators also suspect that household-wide selective pressures on the home environmental reservoir of MRSA promote persistence of multidrug resistant strains. “We hypothesize that infected or colonized people and companion animals shed MRSA into the home environment,” which then re-infect household members.


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