Tampa, FL -- Staphylococcus aureus, one of the most common causes of hospital and community-acquired infections, causes a wide range of human infections and is an important cause of healthcare associated infections. The introduction of new classes of antimicrobials usually has been followed by the emergence of resistance in S. aureus. After the initial success of penicillin in treating S. aureus infection, penicillin-resistant S. aureus became a major threat in hospitals and nurseries in the 1950s, requiring the use of methicillin and related drugs for treatment of S. aureus infections. In the 1980s, methicillin-resistant S. aureus emerged and became endemic in many hospitals, leading to increasing use of vancomycin. The first clinical isolation of S. aureus with reduced susceptibility to vancomycin was reported from Japan.
A survey done by the Environmental Diagnostics Laboratory (EDLab) of Clearwater, Florida suggests that this bacteria, which is a part of normal human skin flora, is also reported from the ambient air of buildings and more specifically HVAC systems in and around the US constituting a group of air-borne bacteria. Once these bacteria become airborne the possibility of mutation increases drastically and a new strain of the same bacteria may be immersed with an altered genetic set-up, which could also be drug resistance. Since, ambient air does not have a boundary, the chances for dissemination of such bacteria increases exponentially.
The resistance of microorganisms including viruses, bacteria, fungi and others with antibiotics is becoming a concern around the world, in recent years. The increased prevalence of antibiotic resistance may be the outcome of evolution. This can be justified by considering the changes in the environment and of course, the survival of the fittest. In other words, our universe is a reservoir of various microorganisms; these organisms need to compete with a number of conditions, including environmental factors, in order to survive. The microorganisms may be categorized as environmental or clinical, based on their dwelling nature. The majority of environmental microorganisms play a vital role as they occupy the position of decomposer in our ecosystem. The human body is also a big source of microorganisms, including bacteria. Some of the bacteria can be considered as normal flora; whereas a number of others are pathogenic or harmful. When these microorganisms are treated by antibiotics, some how or other, a small portion of these microorganisms survives, or the treatment of antibiotics leaves behind biological debris irrespective of their host or environment. These renegade bio-particulates then multiply, increasing their numbers a million fold in a day, becoming the predominant microorganism and become resistance to the convention use of antibiotics.
The antibiotic does not technically cause the resistance, but allows it to happen by creating a situation where an already existing variant can flourish. Whenever antibiotics are used, there is a selective pressure for resistance to occur and it builds upon itself. More and more organisms develop resistance to more and more drugs. A patient can develop a drug-resistant infection, either by contracting a resistant bug to begin with, or by having a resistant microbe emerge in the body once antibiotic treatment begins. Drug-resistant infections increase risk of death, and are often associated with prolonged hospital stays, and can sometimes have complications. In order to study the bacterial resistance power against the antibiotics it is necessary to have the knowledge of the genetic diversity of the organism and the environmental condition apart from other physical and biological factors.
A regular qualitative and quantitative microbiological evaluation of facilities may be of significant importance as it helps in understanding the microbial population of a place at a given time. The outcome of such investigation certainly help in the development of a strategy which will provide adherence to current guidelines to prevent transmission of antimicrobial resistant micro-organisms in various buildings including healthcare facilities as well as homes.
For more information on sampling for Staphylococcus aureus, Legionella and other pathogens go to: EDlab.org an AIHA accredited laboratory and CDC Elite laboratory (contact Dr. Rajiv Sahay 1-800-422-7873 ext 303). DIY Staphylococcus aureus, Legionella and other kits are available at: http://www.INDOORAIRTEST.com and other fine retailers.
Dr. Rajiv Sahay, Director, EDLab, Pure Air Control Services, www.pureaircontrols.com
Alan Wozniak founded Pure Air Control Services, Inc. in 1984 as a small mechanical contracting firm. Today, the firm sets the industry standard for indoor environmental quality diagnosis and remediation.
Pure Air’s nationally performed services include: Building Sciences Evaluation; Building Health Check; an AIHA accredited Environmental Microbiology Laboratory; Environmental Project Management; and Mold Remediation Services, among other indoor environmental services.
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For more information on Pure Air Control Services, Inc. please contact Alan Wozniak or Cy Garner at (800) 422-7873 ext 802 or 804 respectively, or visit www.pureaircontrols.com.