researchers at Edinburgh University have published a study of how the superbug MRSA spreads between hospitals.
They found the bug spreads from big city hospitals to smaller, regional health centres.
They determined the entire genetic code of MRSA bacteria taken from infected patients and then identified mutations in the bug which allowed them to trace the spread of variants around the country.
Dr Ross Fitzgerald, of The Roslin Institute at Edinburgh University, who led the study, said: “We found that variants of MRSA circulating in regional hospitals probably originated in large city hospitals. The high levels of patient traffic in large hospitals means they act as a hub for transmission between patients, who may then be transferred.”
The institute’s Paul McAdam, who also worked on the study, said: “Our findings suggest that the referral of patients to different hospitals is a major cause of MRSA transmission. This knowledge could help in finding ways to prevent the spread of infections.”