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Researchers with TGen in Phoenix are sounding the alarm about MRSA.

MRSA is caused by staph bacteria that have become resistant to antibiotics and live in the nose and on the skin, and is spread by skin-to-skin contact.

It's contagious and is becoming a big problem.

"The Centers for Disease Control, just a few weeks ago, reported that at rock bottom minimum, 23,000 Americans die each year of drug resistant bacteria," NAU professor Lance Price said.

The Translational Genomics Research Institute, or TGen, is working on MRSA. Price is part of the project and says MRSA is a serious situation.

"The World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control name Antibiotic-resistant bacteria as one of the greatest threats we face today," Price said.

T-Gen is trying to find what causes MRSA to spread. One way is through direct contact with what Price called "food animals," such as pigs.

Price commended the Food and Drug Administration for proposing that food animal producers use fewer antibiotics. But he said more needs to be done.

"While this is a good step forward, we're at a time now where we should be leaping forward," Price said. "We need to have mandatory rules to decrease antibiotic use to prevent these bugs from coming out."

Price said MRSA is just one of several superbugs that Americans need to be concerned about.

Bob McClay, Reporter

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