Friday, 18 January 2008


A strange story with perhaps significant long term impact is the news about 'USA300'. As one blog put it an oddly patriotic-sounding name for this frightening new flesh eating, drug resistant staph disease'. The Jonty Skruff newsletter wrote the following:

US scientists warned this week that a new drug-resistant 'superbug' which can cause necrotizing pneumonia, is breaking out in San Francisco's gay community in the same way AIDS developed, though is also spread by casual skin to skin contact.

University of California study chief Binh Diep said infection with the sub-strain of USA300 can cause 'tennis ball size boils' and death and said the bug is currently 13 times more prevalent in sexually active gay men in San Francisco than amongst heterosexuals.

"These multi-drug resistant infections often affect gay men at body sites in which skin-to-skin contact occurs during sexual activities," Dr Diep told Reuters, "But because the bacteria can be spread by more casual contact, we are also very concerned about a potential spread of this strain into the general population."

The doctor advised people to always wash with soap and water after sex and said that sportsmen playing contact games such as American football, rugby and wrestling are also at risk.

"The potential widespread dissemination of the multi-resistant form of USA300 into the general population is alarming," he said, "Once this reaches the general population, it will be truly unstoppable."


It might be a little OTT to make parallels with AIDS but it is striking that here is a story talked about by the SF community (and now through SF based blogs etc) but it hasn't had much coverage over here in the UK. Definitely one to watch.

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