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NewsBites November 2011 Issue

Tea and Coffee Drinkers Less Prone to Nasal MRSA

Worried about antibiotic-resistant staph infections (MRSA)? Ease your worries—and, possibly, reduce the odds that your nasal passages are infected—with a nice hot cup of tea or coffee. Researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina report that people who drink tea and/or coffee are less likely to carry MRSA in their noses. They looked at data on 5,555 people, of whom 1.4% overall had nasal MRSA. Drinking either coffee or tea was associated with about a 50% lower likelihood of carrying MRSA, and those who drank both beverages were at 67% lower relative risk. Scientists said that the study couldn’t prove cause and effect, but noted that both beverages have previously been shown to have antimicrobial properties. Drinking iced tea was not linked to lower MRSA risk, possibly because it has lower levels of antimicrobial compounds, or that the compounds reach the nose by inhaling hot vapors. The precise relationship between nasal MRSA and systemic infection is still being studied, the researchers cautioned.

TO LEARN MORE: Annals of Family Medicine, July/August 2011; abstract at www.annfammed.org/cgi/content/abstract/9/4/299.

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