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Is LRSA the New MRSA?

Spanish Hospital Sees Outbreak of Linezolid-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus

From the WebMD Archives


The outbreak was contained with contact isolation to prevent spread and reduction of linezolid use, he says.

But it’s not just Spain. The new findings are generalizable outside of Spain, Garcia says. Cases have been seen in the U.S, Germany, the U.K, Brazil, and Colombia. “Case reports with infection due to linezolid-resistant S. aureus isolates from all parts of the world are increasingly published,” he says. “Most of the cases are associated with prolonged use of linezolid.”

‘Scary’ Situation

“To put it mildly, this is scary,” saysPhilip M. Tierno Jr., PhD,thedirector of clinical microbiology and immunology at the New York University Langone Medical Center and a clinical professor of microbiology and pathology at the New York University School of Medicine in New York City.

“Previous to this point in time, I have never heard of Staph aureus being resistant to this class of relatively new drugs,” says Tierno, who is author of TheSecret Life of Germs.

Besides linezolid, only drugs like vancomycin are recommended for use in people with severe MRSA infections. “That is the scary part.”

This situation was caused in part by indiscriminate use of antibiotics by doctors, he says. “If there was a judicious application of antibiotics, this would have been more delayed,” he says. “I am hoping this is not widespread.”

Doctors should not shoulder all the blame, he says. Antibiotics are also used indiscriminately in the agriculture setting, he says. Antibiotic resistance is also fostered when people take old antibiotics or finish up a relative or friends’ antibiotic prescription, Tierno tells WebMD.

“We destroyed the gift of antibiotics,” he says.

Robert P. Gaynes, MD, an associate professor of medicine at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, voiced his concerns about overuse of antibiotics in an accompanying editorial.

“It’s really clear that we need to take a careful look at how we are using new antibiotics when we get them,” he tells WebMD. “Antibiotics are always difficult to find, and the number of new ones has dwindled.”

The antibiotic pipeline is dry, he says. “What we have now may be all we ever have,” he says. “In some cases, we are starting to deal with a post-antibiotic era in which there are bacteria that are untreatable with the antibiotics that are available,” he tells WebMD.