MRSA - Methicillin
Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus
MRSA and Community
Acquired MRSA is on the rise. This is a staph infection that is
resistant against antibiotics in the penicillin family.
more about MRSA please contact your local health department or you
can access information from the following web sites.
Ohio Department of Health- MRSA Information
Center of Disease
Control and Prevention (CDC)
Department of Health-Living With MRSA
Aureus and Pregnancy
MRSA In Long Term
What's It All About- News Article
Everyone is up in arms lately about MRSA. For those of you who have
not heard about it, MRSA stands for Methicillin Resistant
Staphylcoccus Aureus. Now you’re saying “what does that mean?”
This is a germ called staph that is different from a regular staph
infection. It does not go away when you take an antibiotic from the
methicillin family. Thus, it is called MRSA. It is treatable though with other types of
antibiotics in most cases. Your physician will know what to do, so
don’t hesitate to see him or her if you have a wound or sore that is
has been around since the 1960's.
It started as a hospital-acquired staph infection, resistant to the
methicillin family of antibiotics. MRSA affected mostly those who
were very sick and did not have a good immune system. Studies were
done to see what has caused this staph to change and spread.
Overuse of antibiotics was one of the things that emerged from the
study. The germ has evolved to resist certain antibiotics.
Otherwise, it will not die because it recognizes the antibiotic and
walls itself off from letting it penetrate its cell. The other
thing that was learned in these studies is that people who were
caring for patients in the hospital weren’t washing their hands
between patient-care and were spreading the staph infection to
others they cared for. These studies have been instrumental in the
need for health care workers to wear gloves while caring for
patients, removing them between each patient and washing hands or
using a hand sanitizer between each patient.
now seeing a new evolving staph infection called
community-acquired. This is the staph infection that everyone is
talking about. This staph infection is obtained in the community
not the hospital. It is treatable the same way the hospital
acquired staph infection with antibiotics that are not in the
methicillin family. This community acquired staph infection
is spread by direct contact with someone who has a MRSA infected
wound to someone who has an open wound. It is also spread by
indirect contact by an open wound touching surfaces contaminated by
need to know what to do to prevent the spread. It is pretty
simple. It’s called good hygiene. Hand washing is the number one
defense against MRSA. Washing hands with soap and water for a
minimum of 20 seconds is essential. Also, cleaning and disinfecting
surfaces regularly and keeping wounds covered until they are
healed is essential. This is the responsibility of the whole community not just
the person who has MRSA. You may be a carrier of MRSA and not know
it, and in the future, we may all have it. It’s not going away. It
is like any other germ, it is one-step ahead of the antibiotic that
can kill it. Our mothers were not wrong when they kept harping on
us to wash are hands before we eat or after we got them dirty.
of you want to know if your children are safe at school. The answer
is yes. It is probably safer at school than any other places they
go because the school is always being cleaned. It is not necessary
for someone who has MRSA to stay home from school unless their
physician orders them to and that only happens if the wound is
draining so much that it cannot be be contained in a dressing. If
the wound is covered it cannot spread anywhere. What about sports?
The same goes here for good hygiene and wound coverage. Another
important thing you can do for your children is to educate them.
Teach them good hand washing, keeping their wounds covered until
healed and not showing them to others. If they remove their bandage,
have it recovered by the school nurse or yourself and to wash their
hands and yours after dressing the wound. One very important thing
you can also teach your children is to not share personal items,
such as towels, deodorant, razors, lip balm, drinks or anything that
has the possibility of spreading germs. This is important for all
germs, not just MRSA.
this cleared up some of your questions about MRSA. If you have
more, don’t hesitate to call your local health department and talk
to the infectious disease nurse.
Linda Bissonette, RN, Infectious Disease Nurse 11/26/07