UCL News


Superbugs and Superdrugs: a History of MRSA

28 May 2008


Superbugs and Superdrugs ucl.ac.uk/histmed/publications/wellcome_witnesses_c20th_med" target="_self">Wellcome Witnesses to Twentieth Century Medicine
  • Wellcome Centre for the History of Medicine at UCL
  • The Wellcome Centre for the History of Medicine at UCL have published a new Witness Seminar on the history of MRSA, as part of their extensive series 'Wellcome Witnesses to Twentieth Century Medicine' at which significant figures in twentieth-century medicine are invited to discuss specific discoveries or events in recent medical history.

    Entitled 'Superbugs and Superdrugs: a History of MRSA', the volume features surgeons, microbiologists, infection control experts, representatives of the pharmaceutical industry and members of the public.

    Because of its unique adaptability and resistance to many antibacterial drugs and antiseptics, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a hospital-caused menace of the present day.

    It has invaded medical and surgical wards in hospitals, infecting patients already ill or recovering, and endangering clean surgical operations, encouraged by overcrowding and limited air circulation. It has now spread from hospitals to families and communities. Infection control microbiologists and the Public Health Laboratory Service developed assays, 'phage typing and other tests to identify strains, with better understanding of their behaviour aided by the discovery of the mecA gene.

    This seminar addressed the biological reasons for this behaviour, the difference between resistant and non-resistant strains, the development, evolution and elucidation of drug resistance in hospital infection and its geographical distribution.

    All of the volumes are freely available for download on the department's website or hard copies can be purchased for £6 plus postage. Hard copies of volumes 1-20 are now available for free while stocks last. The department would be happy to send complete sets to libraries in developing or restructuring countries.

    To find out more, use the links at the top of this article.

    Image: 'Superbugs and Superdrugs: a history of MRSA'