"It's on our radar, but it's something that still looks to be relatively rare," Herrera says, adding "it is something that needs to be studied further."
At Henry Ford, Moore says the USA600 is only partially resistant to the first line antibiotic for MRSA infections, vancomycin. However, it is more resistant to that antibiotic than most other MRSA bacteria.
According to CDC statistics, the estimated number of people developing a serious MRSA infection in 2005 was about 94,360 and approximately 18,650 persons died during a hospital stay related to that infection.
Moore says her study was launched after hospital officials noticed that among a small number of patients with this strain of MRSA, 60% had died within 30 days. "That was so much higher than what we had seen with other strains," she says.
She says the hospital is conducting research to determine if the bacteria have some identifiable characteristics of virulence.
"We are conducting other studies to see if there is a toxin that may be causing this, but this study doesn't answer that."