New superbug strain affects youing and healthy

A new strain of the superbug MRSA has been detected on the Isle of Man, said health bosses.

The island's Department of Health confirmed a small number of cases of a bacterium called MRSA USA 300.

It said that, unlike other strains of MRSA, it predominately affects young, fit and healthy people.

The department added it was mainly transmitted at sports centres, gyms, swimming pools and spas, was resistant to many antibiotics and could cause serious infection.

Dr Katie Laird, a senior lecturer in pharmaceutical microbiology at Leicester's De Montfort University, said: "Bacteria are particularly good at adapting to their environment and through mutations in their DNA, which they are able to share with other bacteria, they can become resistant to antibiotics that are being utilised in healthcare environments.

"The new antibiotic resistant strain of MRSA USA 300 that has been isolated in the Isle of Man is unusual in that it affects the young, fit and healthy and is associated with sporting facilities rather than the hospital environment."

Health chiefs on the Isle of Man have produced and distributed posters, booklets and leaflets in a bid to curb further spreading of the strain.

Managers and coaches of all sporting activities and health clubs on the island have been invited to a presentation on the subject in Douglas next month.