Bacteria are everywhere. This may creep out the Purell enthusiasts among you, but there’s just no other way to put it. Bacteria live in your food, they crawl over subway poles, Starbucks tables, and, unless you Cloroxed it in the last two minutes, your kitchen counter. They even live inside you.
There are good and bad kinds of bacteria. Good bacteria are the kinds that live in your non-fat Greek yogurt. Bad bacteria are the kind that makes you sick.
Staphylococcus aureus is a staph bacterium commonly found in the nose. In certain cases, certain strains become resistant to antibiotics, resulting in Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). This is like the Darth Vader of infections. You do not want to get it, especially if you’re a patient about to get surgery. In fact, MRSA is commonly found in hospitals, a study found that 1 in 3 nurse bags carry this deadly superbug. Read more »
According to the latest news from The Guardian, death certificates mentioning MRSA have fallen steadily in the past 5 years. The UK, known for its accurate and thorough reporting, has crunched us the facts to reveal patterns of decline, as noted in the graph below. In 2010, there were 485 reported deaths from MRSA – or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus – whereas 2011 counted only 364, as released by the Office for National Statistics. The antibiotic resistant bacteria MRSA has in recent years been repeatedly targeted by government policies, and the attention has not gone unnoticed. A Welsh government spokesperson stressed the effort being made to lighten the bug’s yearly blow: “We will work with healthcare organisations to ensure that they have robust, sustainable infection prevention and control measures in place and that staff have the skills, knowledge and resources to provide care in a safe environment.” Just miles away, Simon Burns, England’s Health Minister praised that “The news that MRSA deaths are lower than at any point in the last 15 years is a testament to the hard work and dedication of NHS staff across the country.” Read more »
For the many lives impacted by MRSA each year, it often comes as a bit of a shock to learn that MRSA infections kill more people annually in the United States than AIDS. I personally found this shocking because I had heard so much about AIDS in school and in the media throughout my life, yet I had heard so little about MRSA when my dad died because of it in 2008. While approximately 18,000 individuals succumb to AIDS each year in the United States, another 18,650 lose their lives to MRSA infections.
MRSA is a term used to describe the several stains of Staphylococcus aureus that have become resistant to certain antibiotic treatments, meaning that they are harder to treat and especially threatening for individuals with compromised immune systems. MRSA is a common healthcare-associated infection, an infection acquired while receiving medical care, and is also a common cause of sepsis if allowed to enter the bloodstream. Read more »
It is often that hospitals in a region share patients. Up until now, most studies on methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) have focused on one hospital or a small group of hospitals. A recent study published in Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology shows the impact of a MRSA outbreak on all hospitals in a large metropolitan county. It was found that an outbreak of MRSA at one hospital can impact other hospitals in the same area.
The study used extensive data collected from Orange County, California. Collectively, the hospitals in Orange County serve a population of 3.1 million people. An agent-based model was used to simulate patient movement throughout 29 Orange County hospitals. Valuable information was gained from the results of this study. It was found that increasing MRSA prevalence at a single hospital resulted in an up to 46% increase in relative MRSA prevalence at other hospitals. This is cause for great concern as a MRSA outbreak at one hospital can affect all hospitals in the area. Hospitals therefore should not consider themselves an “island”, but part of an interconnected system.
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