A friend of mine named John went into the hospital for a heart attack just before Christmas, 2002. A month later, still in the hospital, he died of Pneumonia, completely unrelated to the heart condition. He left his widow over $200,000 in medical s and a broken heart.
John was one of thousands who die in hospitals every year from MRSA (Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus)
The following information is from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the US government’s voice on diseases and their treatment.
What is Staphylococcus aureus?
Staphylococcus aureus, often referred to simply as “staph,” are bacteria commonly carried on the skin or in the nose of healthy people. Occasionally, staph can cause an infection; staph bacteria are one of the most common causes of skin infections in the United States. Most of these infections are minor (such as pimples and boils) and most can be treated without antibiotics (also known as antimicrobials or antibacterials). However, staph bacteria can also cause serious infections (such as surgical wound infections and pneumonia). In the past, most serious staph bacteria infections were treated with a certain type of antibiotic related to penicillin. Over the past 50 years, treatment of these infections has become more difficult because staph bacteria have become resistant to various antibiotics, including the commonly used penicillin-related antibiotics (1). These resistant bacteria are called methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA.
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In other words, according to CDC, the germs which cause pimples combined with misuse or overuse of antibiotics can kill you.
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Where are staph and MRSA found?
Staph bacteria and MRSA can be found on the skin and in the nose of some people without causing illness.
What is the difference between colonization and infection?
Colonization occurs when the staph bacteria are present on or in the body without causing illness. Approximately 25 to 30% of the population is colonized in the nose with staph bacteria at a given time.
Infection occurs when the staph bacteria cause disease in the person. People also may be colonized or infected with MRSA, the staph bacteria that are resistant to many antibiotics.
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I.E, according to CDC, you have a 25-30% chance of being at risk for MRSA if you over use or misuse antibiotics.
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Who gets MRSA?
Staph bacteria can cause different kinds of illness, including skin infections, bone infections, pneumonia, severe life-threatening bloodstream infections, and others. Since MRSA is a staph bacterium, it can cause the same kinds of infection as staph in general; however, MRSA occurs more commonly among persons in hospitals and healthcare facilities. Z
MRSA infection usually develops in hospitalized patients who are elderly or very sick or who have an open wound (such as a bedsore) or a tube going into their body (such as a urinary catheter or intravenous [IV] catheter). MRSA infections acquired in hospitals and healthcare settings can be severe. In addition, certain factors can put some patients at higher risk for MRSA including prolonged hospital stay, receiving broad-spectrum antibiotics, being hospitalized in an intensive care or burn unit, spending time close to other patients with MRSA, having recent surgery, or carrying MRSA in the nose without developing illness (3-6).
MRSA causes illness in persons outside of hospitals and healthcare facilities as well. Cases of MRSA diseases in the community have been associated with recent antibiotic use, sharing contaminated items, having active skin diseases, and living in crowded settings. Clusters of skin infections caused by MRSA have been described among injecting drug-users, aboriginals in Canada, New Zealand or Australia, Native Americans in the United States, incarcerated persons, players of close-contact sports and other populations. Community-associated MRSA infections are typically skin infections, but also can cause severe illness as in the cases of four children who died from community-associated MRSA. Most of the transmission in these settings appeared to be from people with active MRSA skin infections.
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I.E, You are susceptible if you play sports, get close to others or a member of almost any group.
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How common is staph and MRSA?
Staph bacteria are one of the most common causes of skin infection in the United States, and are a common cause of pneumonia and bloodstream infections. Staph and MRSA infections are not routinely reported to public health authorities, so a precise number is not known. According to some estimates, as many as 100,000 persons are hospitalized each year with MRSA infections, although only a small proportion of these persons have disease onset occurring in the community. Approximately 25 to 30% of the population is colonized in the nose with staph bacteria at a given time. The numbers who are colonized with MRSA at any one time is not known. CDC is currently collaborating with state and local health departments to improve surveillance for MRSA. Active, population-based surveillance in selected regions of the United States is ongoing and will help characterize the scope and risk factors for MRSA in the community.
Are staph and MRSA infections treatable?
Yes. Most staph bacteria and MRSA are susceptible to several antibiotics. Furthermore, most staph skin infections can be treated without antibiotics by draining the sore. However, if antibiotics are prescribed, patients should complete the full course and call their doctors if the infection does not get better. Patients who are only colonized with staph bacteria or MRSA usually do not need treatment.
How are staph and MRSA spread?
Staph bacteria and MRSA can spread among people having close contact with infected people. MRSA is almost always spread by direct physical contact, and not through the air. Spread may also occur through indirect contact by touching objects (i.e., towels, sheets, wound dressings, clothes, workout areas, sports equipment) contaminated by the infected skin of a person with MRSA or staph bacteria.
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If you have read this far, you are probably pretty frightened like I was and like my friend John was, as he fought his losing battle for life. MRSA is a real and growing threat. It has one cause which is antibiotics. Yes, the very weapon designed to defeat these pesky skin diseases like pimples and boils has spawned lethal mutations which are threatening to do us all in.
You may be asking, “what is this all about and what can I do about it?”
Here is an answer:
Before antibiotics came to be and the FDA took over in 1938, there had been in use a natural germ fighter for thousands of years. It is still in use today. It is cheap and, according to thousands of reports, very effective in killing many pathogens without allowing resistant strains to develop.
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