Nine out of 10 public beaches tested by researchers at the University of Washington tested positive for Staph bacteria, and seven of the 13 samples were drug resistant strains. The Staph was found in marine water and beach sand on the Puget Sound. Tests of ocean water and sand taken from two beaches in Southern California turned up no Staph aureus at all. Five of the samples found on the beach and in the sand more closely resembled hospital-acquired MRSA than the bacteria found in the community. Could it be coming from medical waste dumbed by garbage barges? About 30 percent of healthy people carry Staph aureus, but it is fatal in about 20 perecent of people who develop MRSA bloodstream infections and 40 percent of those who develop MRSA pneumonia. It has emerged as a killer of people with severe influenza.