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Avoiding MRSA Staph Infection - CDC Initiative

Posted by Jane Akre
Monday, September 08, 2008 10:28 PM EST
Category: On The Road, Major Medical, Protecting Your Family, In The Workplace
Tags: MRSA, Staph Infection, Public Health, Antibiotic Resistance, FDA and Prescription Drugs

CDC launched MRSA Education Initiative.

Part of September's School Safety Month 



IMAGE SOURCE: Wikimedia Commons/ MRSA staph infection/ author: U.S. government


The start of the school year generally means more colds as children exchange germs, viruses and bacteria including MRSA.

Officials in West Mifflin, Pennsylvania have confirmed a case of MRSA at an elementary school. The unidentified student is believed to have been infected outside of the school’s property.

The Pittsburgh area school district has put out a warning about MRSA to both parents and students after the drug-resistant infection hit an athletic area. The school building has been cleaned and disinfected.

The CDC today launched the  National MRSA Education Initiative, aimed a specific actions parents can take to protect themselves and their children from the bacteria.

The Initiative will educate through Web sites, fact sheets, brochures and radio and print ads, and outreach through churches, professional organization and school groups. It’s funded through the CDC Foundation and an educational grant from Pfizer.

MRSA stands for Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus, a type of staph bacteria that is resistant to the antibiotic methicillin, which is in the class of antibiotics called beta-lactams, to which MRSA is also resistant.  

Staph is part of the multitude of bacteria that one can find anywhere. About one-third of the population has staph in the nose.

The difference with MRSA is it’s resistance to treatment. Staph only becomes a problem when it causes infection.  In all, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that more than 12 million skin infections are seen by doctors each year, half caused by MRSA.

Most of us are never infected by staph, but some people, especially the weak or ill, the infections can be serious. Because MRSA has evolved to fight antibiotics it’s often called a “super bug”.

Washing hands is a good preventative as staph is spread through casual contact and contaminated objects.  MRSA can be acquired in the hospital, a health care setting (hospital acquired or HA-MRSA). Increasingly it’s being found outside of hospitals such as among military recruits, children, Alaskan Native, Native Americans, prisoners and in a gym where sweat and close contact make its transmission more likely. 

These are called community-based methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA).  The spread of MRSA is made worse by skin-to-skin contact, openings in the skin such as cuts or abrasions, contaminated items and surfaces, crowded living conditions and poor hygiene.  MRSA tends to recur or return after it is cured.

Look for a boil or something that looks like an infected spider bite. Doctors often prescribe other antibiotics hoping they will work. Sulfa drugs are the antibiotic of choice, if the patient is not allergic to them.  Soaking the infection also helps get it under control.   It’s important not to delay in getting a culture of anything that looks like a suspicious skin infection.  

Patients will be asked to wash their hands thoroughly and frequently with an antibacterial soap called chlorhexidine (Hibiclens) to reduce the amount of MRSA on the skin.

For students, cuts and wounds need to be covered with bandages completely. Patients should not share towels, washcloths, clothing or any other items that have had contact with the skin.

Disinfectants should be used frequently to wipe surfaces touched by the student, including desk tops, countertops, door knows and light switches.  Bleach is a cleaning solution that kills bacteria including MRSA.

The CDC says it is not necessary to close schools because of a MRSA infection in a student since washing hands and covering the infection are effective.

Unless directed by a physician, it is not necessary for a child with MRSA to stay home from school. Participation in athletics may depend on whether the wound has any drainage which could contact other students.

According the CDC, drug resistance is increasing dramatically.

In the U.S. the percentage of all drug-resistant staph, including MRSA increased from two to 63 percent over the last decade. # 

1 Comment

Anonymous User
Posted by lissette
Tuesday, September 09, 2008 5:51 PM EST

EWWWWWW! Dhats nastyyyy!

Comments for this article are closed.

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