Congressman Jim Matheson said the growing health threat from drug-resistant microbes needs more attention from Congress and from public health agencies nationally. Matheson's billH.Res 988 to designate "MRSA Awareness Month"-- passed the House Tuesday. MRSA is the abbreviation of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureaus, a so-called "superbug" resistant to many existing antibiotics.
"Drug resistance and the public health threat it poses will not go away on its own. By bringing much needed attention to MRSA, my resolution highlights the need for coordinated action by Congress and by federal health agencies," said Matheson.
According to a 2007 research study, 34 out of every 1,000 hospital patients have active hospital-acquired drug-resistant staph infections. The study concluded that more than 94,000 MRSA infections occurred in the U.S. in 2005, resulting in more than 18,500 deaths. Most alarming has been the rise in infections acquired in community settings such as school locker rooms.
The head of the CDC testified before Congress last year, calling MRSA the "cockroach of bacteria".
Matheson has also introduced bipartisan legislationHR 3697-- to combat antimicrobial resistance by creating a joint blueprint for research at the National Institutes of Health and Centers for Disease Control and better data collection to assess the scope of the problem.