Bammert_3.jpgDoes the pneumonia vaccine lead to staph infection?

A second PRIME project—“Relationship between methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus nasal colonization and vaccination with a pneumococcal conjugate vaccine in adults”—includes collaborative opportunities with UP Health System Marquette. Not only is the system potentially available for physical collaboration on future related work but contributed $10,000 in matching funds to support the project. Led by Dr. Josh Sharp, biology, and Paul Mann and Catherine Bammert from Clinical Sciences, as well as Yuba Gautum, Health and Human Performance, the project aims to determine whether a correlation exists between use of the pneumococcal vaccine—the vaccine for pneumonia, meningitis and ear infections often used in children since 2001—and the incident of methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA.

Mann noted that the widespread use of the vaccine seems to have correlated with an increase in community-acquired-MRSA (CA-MRSA) infections. There is concern that this vaccination creates a niche for increased S. aureus carriage, and may be a risk factor for MRSA infection. The team intends to study if adults who received this vaccination are more likely to carry S. aureus in their nasal cavity when compared to unvaccinated individuals.

“We believe this study will provide useful knowledge on the impact of this vaccine on a major community threat: MRSA, at a time when vaccine safety is a major public concern,” Mann said.

Among team members there is expertise in microbiology and molecular biology, emergency care, disease prevention, community health, infectious disease, immunology, pathobiology and diagnostic molecular medicine. The team also includes three graduate students and a number of undergraduates.

“This grant is funding the first collaborative research effort between the Clinical Sciences, Health and Human Performance, and Biology Departments here at NMU. Together we are performing research that addresses a real world medical problem and that involves our local community,” Sharp said. “The creation of such research opportunities continues to establish that NMU is committed to recruiting and training high-caliber students.”