Strains of potentially deadly, antibiotic-resistant Staphylococcus aureus bacteria show seasonal infection preferences, putting children at greater risk in summer and seniors at greater risk in winter, according to results of a new nationwide study led by a Johns Hopkins researcher.
It’s unclear why these seasonal and age preferences for infection with methicillin-resistant Staph aureus (MRSA) occur, says Eili Klein, Ph.D., lead author on the study and a researcher at the Johns Hopkins Center for Advanced Modeling in the Social, Behavioral and Health Sciences.
But he says that increased use of antibiotics in the winter may be one of the reasons. The winter strain that infects seniors at a greater rate is generally acquired in the hospital and resistant to more antibiotics. On the other hand, the summer strain of MRSA, which is seen with growing frequency in children, is largely a community-transmitted strain that is resistant to fewer antibiotics.