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Bug-fighting stitches fight MRSA

New stitches and dressings containing bacteria-fighting viruses could help to stop the spread of MRSA, according to scientists.

Bonding infection-fighting agents can be bonded to materials such as nylon, researchers in Glasgow said.

These work by growing inside the bug-causing bacteria before bursting out to attacks others.

Sutures - the hospital thread used to stitch up patients in operations - could host the viruses, reducing the chance of patients developing an infection.

And dressings impregnated with the agents would prevent the spread of bacteria.

Tests saw the devices kill 96% of MRSA strains from patients in three different hospitals.

Janice Spencer, from the University of Strathclyde, said: "Some bacteria specific viruses - called bacteriophages - have been used in the past to help clear up infections caused by bacteria, but their use died out when antibiotics like penicillin and methicillin became widely available.

"We are looking at them again now that multiple antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria have become such a problem in hospitals."

The scientists have also developed a device to rapidly detects MRSA on surfaces.

Using this, healthcare professionals could screen patients before surgery to limit the chances of them passing on an infection.

University of Strathclyde

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"I think the first step of prevention is using the pure water in hospitals with silver, this kills bacteria, and is NOT used. My question is WHY not as silver water technology is working in many places around Australia, its new and effective." - Neil McIntyre, Australia

"Any new treatments to aid the stop of MRSA have to be tried." - Katie Smith, York

"Yes, but in Australia the biggest problem is MRSA in the community brought to the healthcare facility by visitors of the patient!" - Ruth Graffin