x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

MRSA scare in Gaza

The discovery of a new strain of MRSA bacteria in Gaza is still one more affliction for the people there.

MRSA is an all-too-real monster. A bacterium that can resist most antibiotics, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus can be fatal. It spreads easily and quickly, and is particularly dangerous to patients in hospitals and nursing homes, where it is increasingly found.

And now a strain of this microbe has been found in Gaza City, Haaretz reports. The danger of this fast-moving, hard-to-treat and potentially deadly germ must now be added to the list of tribulations afflicting people in Gaza, one of the most densely populated areas on Earth.

Samples from 600 Gazans turned up the bacteria - believed to be a unique strain - in 15 per cent of them. (West Bank tests were negative.)

While the MRSA found in Gaza is not the most virulent strain, scientists say this one is linked to skin abscesses and infections. And where one strain can develop and spread, so can another.

There is an irony in the fact that this new version of MRSA was discovered by Israeli and Palestinian scientists working together. If Israel worked with Palestinians more often, instead of enforcing its blockade, Gazans' public health - and much more - would surely be far better off.