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MRSA The Hospital Superbug

MRSA: How To Avoid This Hospital Based Superbug

MRSA or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus is an infection caused by a strain of strep that is resistant to antibiotics. It is sometimes referred to as a superbug because it is so hard to treat.

Although MRSA can be developed among healthy non-hospital people, it is most often spread among people in the hospital.

MRSA often enters the body through a wound, like a surgical site or through an opening like a bed sore. Persons on dialysis are at special risk because their immune systems are vulnerable and the wound created by the IV.

A carrier, that is someone who is colonized with the bacteria, may not showing any signs of infection or ill health. In fact, a health care worker, doctor, nurse or nurse’s aide may be a carrier and totally unaware of it.

MRSA can be spread by clothing, jewelry or a stethoscope. It can be carried from one patient to the next in this way. Direct contact with a carrier or infected person is a principal source of the spread.

If you have ever been diagnosed with MRSA it is critical that you tell your doctors before any procedure that requires surgical interventions. Recurrences of the disease can sometimes be fatal.

Prevention: If you require hospitalization for any reason: find out what the hospital’s rate of infection is. Find out what precautions the hospital has instituted to prevent the spread of MRSA.

For example, in England, doctors visiting hospitals are prohibited from wearing neck ties, lab coats, jewelry, long sleeves nor are they allowed carrying a stethoscope.

You are the best advocate for your own health. If you see something ask. Find out and do not be shy as infection with MRSA is a serious and often life-threatening illness that can be prevented.

For more information contact the Centers for Disease Control, www.cdc.gov