Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a bacterium responsible for several difficult-to-treat infections in humans most commonly contracted in hospitals and other healthcare facilities, and nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. Outbreaks have also been reported in prisons, and even from skin contact in gyms and locker rooms.
Earlier this fall, researchers in Seattle discovered that nearly all the Washington public beaches they tested harbored strains of staphylococci in the sand at the shoreline, with methicillin resistance in half of the strains found. The MRSA strains found resemble those commonly found in hospitals.
While researchers said they weren't telling people not to go to the beach, they recommended paying close attention to persistent rash, fever, and other tell-tale signs of MRSA infection after a visit to the beach.
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