USM and Forrest General collaborate to research Staph infection

USM and Forrest General collaborate to research Staph infection

The University of Southern Mississippi and Forrest General Hospital have formed a collaboration to research Staph infection.

"In the last three decades, this bacteria has been emerging in the community because of the use of antibiotics in some patients," said Dr. Luis Marcos, director of Forrest General's Infection Prevention Department. "We see close to 300 cases of MRSA infections at the hospital each year."

MRSA is an infection caused by the Staph bacteria. This bacteria lives in many healthy bodies, but for reasons not completely understood, can become harmful. Approximately 11,000 Americans are killed by Staph infections each year.

The goal of the partnership is to identify the specific gene that makes the bacteria resistant to commonly used antibiotics.

"In the lab we study Staph at the molecular level and try to understand what makes it resistant, what makes it cause disease," said Dr. Mohamed Elasri, USM professor. "And the idea is to develop future therapies."

By identifying the risk factors, outbreaks of Staph infections can be predicted and hopefully prevented.

"Together hopefully we can improve health in the hospital, in Mississippi, and in the world," said Dr. Elasri.