Professor Sally Bloomfield, chairwoman of the International Scientific Forum on Home Hygiene, said the risk of the ‘edges becoming blurred' between community and healthcare-acquired MRSA were real.
In the worse case scenario, Straphylococcus aureus (SA) carrying the necrotising toxin Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL) could spread throughout hospitals if, for example, an unknown carrier is admitted for surgery.
Only around 2 per cent of SA cases in the UK carry PVL, but experts fear this rate may rise, as is happening in parts of the US.
The Health Protection Agency (HPA) has drawn up a consultation plan for MRSA, which calls on GPs to take swabs of recurrent abscesses or necrotising tissue to determine SA infection.
‘It's absolutely vital that we do this,' said Professor Bloomfield.
‘The community-acquired strains have developed independently of the hospital strains and we simply don't know who has this.'
The HPA document is out for consultation until the end of February.
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