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Georgetown University saw a spike in sinus infections due to MRSA. The germ accounted for 69 percent of the staph-caused cases in the hospital between 2004 and 2006 compared with 30 percent from 2001 to 2003.
Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit found that more than half of staph-caused pneumonia cases from 2005 through 2007 were due to MRSA.
Doctors from Case Western Reserve University and the VA Medical Center in Cleveland found that by the time hospitals isolated and tested new patients to see if they harbored MRSA, many had already contaminated their skin and surroundings. Within about a day of being admitted, roughly a third had already started to spread the germ.
Hospital screening is controversial, and has had mixed success, said Dr. M. Lindsay Grayson, an infectious diseases expert at the University of Melbourne in Australia.
The nation's Veterans Affairs hospitals began universal MRSA testing in 2007. Illinois and some other states have adopted or are considering laws requiring hospitals to test high-risk and intensive-care patients for MRSA.
The conference is a joint meeting of the American Society for Microbiology and the Infectious Diseases Society of America.
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