Wounded Soldiers Battle Superbugs

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By Cile Waller

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Wounded soldiers have already been through their fair share of battles. But Army doctors are finding they often have another fight on their hands after their injury.

So-called "superbugs" -- those forms of bacteria known to resist many of the most commonly used antibiotics -- are invading the wounds of these soldiers, complicating their recoveries.

Dr. Clinton K. Murray, from Brook Army Medical Center, notes military hygiene has improved markedly over the past century, leading to a significant decline in what was previously termed "war pestilence." Infectious diseases that were common a 100 years ago, such as cholera, dysentery, plague, smallpox, typhoid, and typhus fever, are now largely a thing of the past.

But the development of superbugs like methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus -- which most people know as "MRSA" -- has raised the stakes for wounded soldiers once again.

What can be done to keep soldiers from developing these deadly infections? Researchers say military medicine needs to realize modern microbiology and antimicrobial agents used in hospitals are just as important in the battle zone.

SOURCE: Presented at The Society for General Microbiology Meeting, March 29, 2009

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