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Staph Infections

Staph Infections MRSA [methicillin-resistant staph aureus]

Health alert on superbug; the deadly killer…

Nearly 19,000 Americans died in 2005 of invasive infections caused by drug-resistant staph bacteria (Staphylococcus aureus is its name), more than died from AIDS (from the Journal of the American Medical Association).

The report notes the alarming spread of MRSA (methicillin-resistant staph aureus) in communities across the U.S., documenting the deadly impact. The superbug has developed immunity to treatment with common antibiotics such as penicillin. Based on the study, more than 94,000 Americans got life-threatening MRSA infections that appear to be traced to hospitals, nursing homes or medical clinics. Infectious processes include blood and bone infections, pneumonia and inflammation of the heart’s lining.

Hospitals across the country are urged to evaluate whether current strategies for combating MRSA are effective. A growing number of cases are also traced to community gyms and schools.

In Virginia this October (2007), a student who contracted the infection which spread to his kidney, liver, lungs and heart muscle. As a result, school officials closed 21 schools for cleaning. The bacteria live on common surfaces, such as a cafeteria table, for days or weeks and are transmitted when touched.

Rates were twice as high for blacks, 66 per 100,000) and almost four times higher for the elderly. For infants, the rate for blacks was four times higher than whites. Blacks may be more vulnerable because they have higher rates of chronic illness which require more health care provider visits.

How do you protect yourself?

With any contact in health care settings, wash your hands thoroughly even several times. If a patient is in the hospital (particularly in isolation) and you are visiting, be extremely aware of the contagious possibility. If a family member appears ill after a health care visit, make sure to evaluate for staph.

Visit the website: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more information on this worrisome threat: www.cdc.gov

DISCLAIMER: The information provided here is for general informational purposes only, and is provided as a supplement for students enrolled in Meditec’s medical career training courses. The information should NOT be used for actual diagnostic or treatment purposes or in lieu of diagnosis or treatment by a licensed physician.