Smoking Makes MRSA More Deadly

Study finds cigarette smoke strengthens MRSA’s drug resistance

August 2, 2019

A new study has found yet another reason for facility managers to enforce a strict nonsmoking policy in their buildings, especially those who manage health care and long-term care facilities. Researchers at the University of Bath in Bath, England, found that cigarette smoke can make methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacterial strains even more resistant to antibiotics, Infection Control Today reports.

Smoke exposure can also make some strains of MRSA more invasive and persistent by sparking the pathogen’s emergency response, which increases the rate of mutation, resulting in more hardy variants.

The researchers exposed six strains of MRSA clones to cigarette smoke. These strains were chosen for their genetic diversity and their ability to cause various ailments from skin infections to pneumonia. Study results found that the MRSA strains most likely to cause invasive infections showed increased resistance to the antibiotic rifampicin after smoke exposure.

Researchers wanted to study the combination of cigarette smoke and MRSA as smoking is the leading cause of preventable death worldwide and MRSA is a pathogen commonly found in humans that can cause a wide range of diseases. To learn more about other infectious diseases and how they progress and spread throughout a health care facility, be sure to attend the Epidemiology and Environmental Services education session on Monday, November 18 at ISSA Show North America 2019.

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