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    Deadly Sex Disease Spreads Among Gay Men In North America, Europe
    Paul Icamina - AHN News Writer
    San Francisco, CA (AHN) - Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) that is resistant to multiple antibiotics is common among men who have sex with men, and it might be sexually transmitted, a new study shows.

    "We probably had it here first, and now it is spreading elsewhere," said lead researcher Binh An Diep of the San Francisco General Hospital. "This is a national problem, and San Francisco is at the epicenter."

    A clone of MRSA called USA300 was not seen before 2000 but is now widespread in 38 U.S. states, Canada and nine European Union countries, the study showed.

    MRSA can cause unusually severe diseases, including necrotizing fasciitis, sepsis, endocarditis and pneumonia, researchers said Monday.

    Spread of the clone among men who have sex with men is associated with high-risk behaviors, including use of methamphetamine and other illicit drugs, sex with multiple partners, participation in group sex, use of the Internet for sexual contacts, skin-abrading sex and history of sexually transmitted infections, they said.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates MRSA is responsible for about 19,000 deaths annually in America, most of which occur in the hospital.

    The findings, now posted online, will appear in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine on Feb. 19.

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