November 18 – Addressing Antibiotic Awareness Internationally!

What’s special about Thursday, November 18, 2010? Well, aside from high hopes that my University of Washington Huskies will crush PAC-10 rival UCLA tonight, its also a very important day worldwide for raising antibiotic awareness… Read More

MRSA infection more prevalent in the US than in the UK….or is it?

The antibiotic resistant strain of bacteria known as MRSA has been front page news for years in the United Kingdom, but recent reports are suggesting that Americans should be a little more concerned as well. A new study, published in the medical journal Clinical Infectious Diseases1, examined the incidence of MRSA in both England and the United States between 2006 and 2007. This work, representing a collaboration between the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the UK Health Protection Agency, looked specifically at bloodstream infections and further categorized these as either “hospital-onset” or “community-onset” based on when the infection was detected. Surprisingly, it was found that the national incidence of community-onset MRSA bloodstream infection was much higher in the US than in England (21.9 cases per 100,000 vs. 3.5 cases per 100,000). In contrast, the national incidence of hospital-onset MRSA bloodstream infection was virtually identical at 7.4 cases per 100,000 for the US and 7.8 per 100,000 for the UK. During the study period a total of 9,324 MRSA bloodstream infections were recorded in the US as compared to 11,431 in the UK, and in the UK a much higher proportion of the total were hospital-onset (69% vs. only 24% in the UK). In the US, those developing community-onset MRSA cases were more likely to have had an established risk factor such as diabetes, dialysis, or prior intravenous drug use. Read More

Is screening for MRSA and decolonization therapy in the hospital useful?

So you’re about to be admitted into the hospital for a surgical procedure? Hopefully its something small…maybe a little nose job or a colonoscopy, but maybe its something a little more serious like a hip replacement or a cardiac bypass procedure? Depending on where you live and what hospital you go to you might be asked to give samples from various parts of your body for MRSA analysis prior to being admitted. Don’t worry…this only consists of a nurse or medical assistant running a cotton swab lightly across your skin in the nasal, armpit, and/or groin regions and then sending it on to the lab where they will use one of various techniques to identify whether MRSA is present. The end result is that in as little as a few hours or as long as about a day later they will know whether you are going to be bringing some unwanted “little friends” into their facility, putting yourself and others at risk for infection. If you happen to be a carrier, you may be put through a couple extra measures or treatments prior to surgery designed to reduce the chances that you or others will develop an infection. Read More

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