Understanding and Dealing With MRSA
The Basics — What Is It And Where It Is Found?
Transmission and Vulnerability
Disturbing, frightening and seemingly relentless, MRSA is transmitted primarily from the colonized MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) hand of a patient or healthcare worker who did has haunted the consciousness of the nation. Like a not properly wash their hands. Swollen, red and modern-day plague, MRSA, a type of bacterial “staph” pus-filled areas from surgical incisions or skin irritations infection resistant to commonly used antibiotics, has characterize the skin of infected individuals. It can prompted the concern of health officials, business also reside in hair-covered regions such as the back owners and the general public due to its increasing of the neck or the groin, and is frequently mistaken for spread, adaptability and virtual defiance of conventional CA-MRSA, on the other hand, is usually transmitted Staph bacteria is so ubiquitous that many of us via skin cuts and abrasions in environments where unknowingly carry it “colonized” on our bodies — there is predominantly close-quarter human contact it resides on the skin or in the nasal passages of — everywhere from airports to military bases, nearly 30 percent of the population. This common gymnasiums, locker rooms, pool areas, ball fields, bacteria can mutate into a viable threat in hospitals day care centers and penitentiaries. A common and other healthcare environments when staph risk factor is the sharing of towels, razors and other takes advantage of insect bites, skin abrasions, personal hygiene products. According to the CDC, cuts and surgical incision avenues into the body individuals over age 65 are especially vulnerable to to cause pneumonia, wound, bloodstream or MRSA and CA-MRSA, and culturally, records show urinary tract infections in patients with weakened that black people appear to experience infections at First discovered in 1961, these MRSA infections Regrettably, MRSA is gaining strength outside of are fiercely resistant to usually reliable beta- healthcare settings and had found its way into the lactams antibiotics such as methicillin, oxacillin, community. One only has to consult the mainstream penicillin and amoxicillin. In rare cases, mild media to discover CA-MRSA outbreaks among skin infections featuring boils or pimples can transform competitive sports teams from the high school to into necrotizing fasciitis (“flesh eating”) bacterial the professional level. The infection has affected infections that can spread with horrifying speed and professional sports players and has contributed to the deaths of high school and college athletes across the country. In addition to the risk factor of Currently, the majority of MRSA cases are in healthcare close contact associated with sports, the sharing settings. According to an October 2007 study of equipment or clothing may also be a contributor. published in “The Journal of the American Medical Association” (JAMA), approximately 85% of invasive MRSA infections occur in these environments, What If You Think You Have It?
while 14% are categorized as community-associated The bottom line is that if you have a skin cut, abrasion (CA-MRSA) infections, or in those individuals lacking or something that looks like a spider bite or even the risk factors associated with healthcare environ- a pimple that is not responding to conventional first ments. As outlined in a Centers for Disease Control aid methods or over-the-counter medications, you and Prevention (CDC) report, more individuals died should consult your physician immediately. Even though MRSA and CA-MRSA are frequently resistant to antibiotics, your physician can devise a treatment • Avoid contact with the wounds and bandages of strategy utilizing a variety of medications that can be • Shower immediately after exercise, athletic If you are already under a physician’s care for an infection, pay particular attention to the effectiveness of the medication. If you notice that • Do not share or tolerate the sharing of personal the infection is getting worse, or if you start running items such as towels, razors, bar soap or a fever or have trouble breathing, contact your physician immediately. If you have a condition • Do not share or tolerate the sharing of athletic that lowers your immunity, you are at a higher risk of MRSA and CA-MRSA infection. If you think that you might have an infection, contact your • Immediately wash soiled towels, sheets and clothes with laundry detergent and dry them on the hot dryer setting to kill bacteria It’s also important to keep in mind that you should avoid asking your physician for antibiotic • Wipe equipment surfaces thoroughly after use treatments for a simple cold or flu. Increasingly, the medical community is coming to the realization • Maintain a cleaner environment through man- dated cleaning procedures for frequently touched conventional antibiotics due to the over prescribing • If you think you have an infection, contact your Prevention — Cleaning Up Your Act
Now that you understand the dangers of MRSA and SOURCES:
CA-MRSA in more detail, your emphasis should be on avoiding infection and outbreaks by practicing CDC Web site. The American Academy of Family Physicians Web site. WebMD Web site.
common sense and good personal hygiene. This Capriotti, T. Dermatology Nursing, Jan. 26, 2004; vol 15: pp 535-538. Johnson, L. advice, based on recommendations by the CDC Infections in Medicine, 2005; vol 22: pp 16-20. and healthcare professionals is not solely applicable Klevens, R.M. The Journal of the American Medical Association, Oct. 17, 2007; vol 298: pp 1763-1771.
to individuals. If you hold a position of responsibility R. Monica Klevens, DDS, MPH, Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion, CDC, with a business or concern where close human contact is frequent, you should pay particular Elizabeth Bancroft, MD, Acute Communicable Disease Control, Los Angeles attention to the following recommendations: CDC Basic Statistics, HIV/AIDS Status Report, 2005. WebMD Medical News: • Make sure your hands are clean by thorough “MRSA Rates Much Higher Than Thought.” CDC Press Release, “CDC estimates 94,000 invasive drug-resistant staph infections occurred in the U.S. in 2005.” October 16, 2007.
Linezolid for the treatment of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infections hand sanitizer and/or antimicrobial cleanser in children. Kaplan SL - Pediatr Infect Dis J - 01-SEP-2003; 22(9 Suppl): S178-85 — especially after changing bandages or Prospective comparison of risk factors and demographic and clinical characteristics of community-acquired, methicillin-resistant versus methicillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus infection in children.
• Take your time washing your hands — it Sattler CA - Pediatr Infect Dis J - 01-OCT-2002; 21(10): 910-7 should take as long as it takes for you to recite Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in the community. Bratcher D - Pediatr Infect Dis J - 01-DEC-2001; 20(12): 1167-8 • Constantly clean cuts and scrapes and cover • Discard any soiled bandages and used 2008 Evonik Stockhausen, Inc.
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