The bacteria are more virulent than the infamous hospital MRSA, can
affect otherwise healthy people and are spreading across Britain.
They can be transmitted through skin-to-skin contact and hugging as well as sneezing and coughing.
One strain, called USA300, can lead to blood poisoning or a form of pneumonia that eats away at lung tissue.
The bacteria are usually resistant to several types of antibiotics and can cause large boils on the skin.
Chris Williams, professor of molecular genetics at the University of Birmingham, said: ‘It breaks down tissue. If it gets into your heart, bacteria can get into your bloodstream and take hold of different parts of your body. That could lead to death quite easily.’