Skip to Content

Journal: Scientists Identify Successful 'Anti' Antibiotic That May Help Curb Rising Staph Infections

ALBANY, Ore., Oct. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- For the second year in a row, students and athletes across the country are being hit by antibiotic resistant staph infections known as MRSA. In just over a week, two high school football players have died from the superbug. The highly contagious infections are most commonly contracted through a break in the skin; such as a scrape or abrasion. The good news, according to a study appearing in the October 2008 edition of The Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, is that a readily available compound might hold the key to reducing infections.

In the lab study, scientists at Oregon State University evaluated three common, over-the-counter wound-care products used for preventing infections. Researchers tested a maximum strength antibiotic cream, a "poly" antibiotic cream, and an antibiotic-free product containing benzethonium chloride and essential oils to see how each performed against multiple strains of MRSA.

Their conclusion? Only the antibiotic-free product, which is widely available on drug store shelves under the brand name Staphaseptic, effectively killed the MRSA bacteria. The two antibiotic products tested had some antibacterial effectiveness against the superbug while Staphaseptic had a genuine "bactericidal" effect - meaning it killed the MRSA bacteria and reduced the number by a factor of 1,000. The decline in bacterial numbers was greater than a log value of 3 - which is equivalent to a 99.9% kill. All three products are similarly applied to minor wounds before a bandage.

Dr. David Bearden, an infectious disease specialist and lead author of the OSU study, explained that even healthy people can be prime targets for MRSA. "What we've seen with these community acquired infections, like MRSA, is that they don't spare anyone," said Bearden. "This organism is set up to survive very well on an otherwise healthy person."

MRSA bacteria thrive on warm, moist skin, like that of an active athlete, and can live anywhere on the body. The Centers for Disease Control recommend hand washing as the main deterrent against MRSA. However, if MRSA is present on a person's knee no amount of hand washing will kill the bacteria on the contaminated knee. And that may be what's causing a problem, especially for football players who get turf burns and abrasions. Both are prime entry points for MRSA.

"It should be automatic that athletes take immediate preventive actions because of the problems we are seeing with MRSA," said Dr. J. Mark Christensen, another author of the OSU study. Preventive actions include a warm, soapy shower and the application of a MRSA killing anti-infective product before a bandage.

MRSA is staph bacteria that has mutated and grown over the last 60 years to become resistant to standard antibiotics like those found in OTC antibiotic creams and ointments.

The study, titled Comparative in vitro activities of topical wound care products against community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, is available at

Source: Tech Labs

CONTACT: Gary Burris of Tec Labs, +1-541-918-4124,

Posted: October 2008