MRSA Strain Kills Two In Hospital

A strain of MRSA that has never caused deaths in hospitals has killed two people, according to the Health Protection Agency (HPA). After a healthcare worker died in September, it emerged that a strain of Panton-Valentine Leukocidin (PVL) MRSA had also claimed a patient’s life. The strain attacks white blood cells and sufferers cannot fight infection.

An investigation at the unnamed West Midlands hospital found six other people also contracted the strain. It was identified in eight people overall, with four of those affected developing an infection, according to the agency. Two of those infected died.

Hospital-associated strains of MRSA, which are more commonly known and do not produce PVL, normally affect more elderly hospitalised patients.

The HPA said the PVL strain had been “seen in the UK before”. In a statement, it said: “PVL-producing strains of MRSA have been seen in the UK before – however, the small numbers of cases reported have usually been in the community rather than a hospital setting. This outbreak is the first time transmission and deaths due to this strain are known to have occurred in a healthcare setting in England and Wales.”

The agency identified those affected as being “among individuals in a hospital and their close household contacts in the West Midlands”. However, the HPA did not identify the hospital involved. The agency only covers England and Wales. However, the PVL strain is not thought to have caused deaths in the rest of the UK.