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Updated Oct 28, 2013 - 2:21 pm

TGen researchers concerned about MRSA

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.

About the Author

Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I live in north Phoenix with my wife Rene' and my son Devin.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: My Dad took me to see Jimmy Dean at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in the 1960's. It was before the Coliseum was built. The only thing I remember is Jimmy Dean singing his big hit "Big Bad John."

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Shiloh Community Church in Phoenix. Devin is a high school student at Scottsdale Christian Academy. He plays on the baseball, football, and basketball teams and sings in the choir. Obviously, we keep busy trying to go to all his events! We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and long road trips. We like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.


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