Doctors in the UK have used genetic DNA tests for the first time to stop a MRSA outbreak. Working to decipher the genetic code of this bacteria led them to the discovery that a member of the hospital personnel in Cambridge Rosie could have been an unknowing carrier of the disease, spreading it.
Worry was expressed when routine exams showed that MRSA was detected in 12 babies in the hospitals, but existing tests could not determine if it was just one outbreak, or separate cases.
Researchers at the University of Cambridge and the Sangers Institute turned into detectives to try to figure it out.
This meant the use of a sophisticated version of a paternity test and comparing the complete genetic code of the MRSA in each baby to construct a genealogical tree, which revealed that they were part of the same strand.
A deep cleansing was carried out, but two months later another case appeared, which took the studies to 154 members of the personnel.
The study showed that someone was carrying MRSA and could have spread it to the newborns in the unit.
Dr. Julian Parkhill, of the Sanger Institution said that they may have ended the outbreak. This also gave the hospital the opportunity to intervene and discover a new advancement in MRSA detection.
“We believe that this is the first case of complete genome sequencing in fact, which has lead to clinical intervention and ended the outbreak”, he said.
The study was published in the medical journal “The Lancet” Infectious Diseases and experts now believe that soon, this will become a standard method in hospitals around the UK.