11.27.2007

Good Q and A on MRSA

An excellent "What you Need to Know" article on MRSA from the Seattle Times. This is well written enough to be handed out as patient teaching materials. There's also a nice explanation as to why shutting down the school when a kid gets MRSA isn't necessary. Here's a sample.

Although most people don't get
serious infections, staph has always been a "bad bug," says Duchin.

MRSA is even badder. Researchers are discovering that MRSA is
surprisingly widespread and becoming tougher. It's a classic lesson in
Darwinian evolution: As the weaker germs are killed by antibiotics, the
strongest, most resistant ones survive and multiply, particularly when
antibiotics are used improperly.

In 2000, a new strain of MRSA "took off like wildfire," according to
Dr. Yuan-Po Tu, a MRSA tracker at the Everett Clinic. Before, most MRSA
infections were caused by a strain mostly contracted in hospitals. This
new, "community acquired" strain can be even more virulent, potentially
causing severe illnesses even in healthy people.Most of the time, community-acquired MRSA
(sometimes shortened to CA-MRSA) causes skin and soft-tissue infections
that can be treated with other readily available antibiotics. But if
not properly treated, the bug can work its way into the body and is
tough to get out.

The vast majority of serious, "invasive" MRSA infections and deaths
occur in hospitalized patients who are suffering from other serious
diseases, have lowered immunity or have recently undergone surgery.



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