Category: Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus

MRSA On The Rise Among Children

Hospitalized children colonized with MRSA have a very real risk for invasive infections, both while in the hospital and once they leave, so mitigating this risk is a serious priority – Dr. Aaron Milstone

The antibiotic resistant bacteria known as methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is on the rise and children are at high risk for contracting skin infections that could develop into life threatening cases.  In a 2007 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it was shown that 95,000 people had developed serious MRSA infections and that nearly 19,000 died. The rate of hospitalization among children due to skin infections has more than doubled since 2000.  Hospitalized children who carry MRSA and yet show no signs of ill health are indeed still at risk for developing full-blown MRSA infections.

A study conducted between 2007 and 2010 at John Hopkins Children’s Centre found that children carrying MRSA were six times more likely to develop serious infections after they were discharged in comparison with their non-carrier counterparts, and eight times more likely to develop invasive MRSA infections while still in the hospital. The study also found that children that had been prescribed four courses of antibiotics prior to being treated were 18 times more likely to be diagnosed with MRSA than children that had not been prescribed antibiotics. These statistics suggest that the misuse and overuse of antibiotics are placing children at higher risk of developing serious MRSA infections. Read More

MRSA Infection Lawsuit Results In $17.5 Million Verdict

In 2005, the number of deaths caused by Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections in the United States overtook the number of deaths caused by AIDS.  More than doubling from five years earlier, almost nineteen thousand people died as a result of MRSA and a further ninety-four thousand suffered life-threatening infections from the bacterium.[1] What worries me when I hear reports like this is that while MRSA infections can be just as deadly as AIDS, they are generally much simpler to treat and prevent. In part, this is why I see a growing number of victims turning to courts to provide them with relief when medical authorities fail them.

David Fitzgerald had all four limbs amputated after suffering from a serious MRSA infection.

MRSA-related lawsuits are generally claims of negligence against a medical authority that has some responsibility or duty of care towards the victim.  Due to the varied ways in which a MRSA infection can be acquired or mistreated, liability can arise in many different circumstances against a variety of parties.  At low levels, a medical malpractice lawsuit can arise from an individual doctor misdiagnosing or mistreating a MRSA infection that has already occurred in their patient.  This is what happened to a patient in Texas, David Fitzgerald, whose doctor treated him with eight different antibiotics, none of which were effective against MRSAs.[2] As a result, David developed gangrene and had all four limbs amputated. He was awarded $17.5 million as a result of negligent treatment of his MRSA infection, however this was later reduced to $7.5 million under Texas damages cap ruling. David currently lives with his brother, and is unable to bathe or leave the house by himself.

As we trace responsibility up the food chain we see facilities at which victims acquired their infections being sued, especially hospitals.  These types of lawsuits focus on environmental conditions at the facility and place the blame for the infection on Read More

A Trip to the Hospital Turns into a Lesson in MRSA

Walking into the hospital is always daunting because it’s confusing and not a place people visit under normal circumstances.  So when I went to St. Paul’s last week after my grandpa had open heart surgery I tried to be prepared.  I looked up maps so I wouldn’t get lost meeting my sister in the hospital and set off with my “Get Well Soon” balloon in tow.  The one thing I wasn’t prepared for was the ensuing reality check.

As we began our trek to the cardiac unit, my sister insisted we stop at every hand washing station.  No, she doesn’t have obsessive compulsive disorder; she works in a hospital so she knows the importance of maintaining proper hygiene.

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Running the MRSA Vanguard with Vancomycin

In today’s world, a higher degree of exchange is taking place between places through commerce and travel, and contact with new strains of bacteria is now becoming commonplace. Even more disconcerting is certain bacteria have begun to develop resistance to last line treatments such as Vancomycin.

Most people have never heard of Vancomycin and they are lucky. In a recent survey, three out of four doctors considered Vancomycin as the leading treatment for MRSA infections[1]. Vancomycin doesn’t allow common types of bacteria to latch onto the cells in your body and because of this, many of the bacteria will die. The treatment for MRSA is one of six “indications” for which Vancomycin is restricted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This is because the more an antibiotic is used, the more resistant bacteria can develop. As a result, we should restrict usage to the most serious indications and limit antibiotic resistance. Read More

Over 100 Million Doses Of Antibiotics Are Administered Every Year

More than 80 years ago, Alexander Fleming, a bacteriologist, theorized that antibacterial would be found in his own nasal mucus.  During his experiment, a spore of a variant called Penicillium notatum accidentally contaminated his culture plate of Staphylococcus bacteria. This mold released a substance that inhibited the growth of the bacteria, leading to the breakthrough discovery of penicillin which triggered the beginning of a worldwide medical revolution.

Antibiotics, such as penicillin, have greatly reduced illness and death from infections. Today, 130 million doses of antibiotics are administered every year, and up to half of these have been deemed as unnecessary.  One of the main reasons for this occurs when antibiotics are prescribed for viral rather than bacterial infections. As a result, bacterium such as MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) have “learned” to develop resistance against common antibiotics and have begun to cause severe infections that are expensive to

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MRSA In The News – Now Being Found In Milk

Another instance of MRSA is happening again, but this time scientists in the UK have found a strain of MRSA in cow’s milk. It was found during a study on udder infection mastitis in dairy herds. It has since caused a small number of serious blood infections and other minor infections in people. There is no clear link to how people are becoming infected with this strain of MRSA, but the study suggests that this is likely a result of being in contact with infected cattle or people that work with animals.

Dr. Mark Holmes, who led the study, stated that milk from infected cows was safe to drink because the bug, along with other bacteria, was killed by pasteurisation. This is good news since more than 99% of milk consumed in the UK is pasteurised.

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MRSA In The News – Even Bedbugs have MRSA

The most recent news regarding MRSA is that it is now being found in bedbugs. Scientists in Vancouver are now looking at the relationship between there being so many outbreaks of severe bacterial infections and having a lot of bed bug infestations. Could they be connected? It is causing some concern for the urban areas in the U.S where there has been a rise in bedbugs.[1]

Doctors are examining the relationship between the number of infections and the number of bedbug outbreaks. After scientists examined five of the Canadian bedbugs, they have found that three of them are carrying around MRSA and the other two are carrying around vancomycin-resistant enterococcus (VRE) [2], another commonly encountered multidrug-resistant bacteria. 

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MRSA In The News – Superbug Now Found In Grocery Meat

In our previous posts about MRSA we have discussed the different ways this type of bacteria can be transmitted specifically through contact with an infected or colonized person. We have spent a lot of time talking about the high risks of getting infected in a hospital setting, but what about the risk of transmission from eating contaminated food?

In a recent alarming study, researchers have found MRSA bacteria in raw turkey, chicken and beef. This was first noticed in Detroit grocery stores. Experts say that they have always known that raw meat does in fact carry around bacteria and bugs like E. Coli. The recent findings of MRSA in raw meat should only reinforce the message that you need to wash your hands when handling meat and cook it thoroughly before eating.[1]

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“Ground Zero” for MRSA Colonization – The Nose

On this blog, we have spoken many times about the dangers of MRSA. It is now time to explore how MRSA can be detected, and what areas of the body are most often colonized.

MRSA is a versatile bacterium that lives on the skin surface. Up to 30%-40% of people have been shown to carry Staphylococcus aureus, which in its resistant forms, is commonly known as MRSA. In addition, those who are excluded from the previously stated statistic, known as non-carriers, are not necessarily free from all bacteria. Instead, their skin may be better suited for other types of bacteria.

There are big differences in colonization characteristics where MRSA is concerned.   A Read More

The Rise of Superbugs- MRSA In The News

Welcome to a world where drugs don’t work – MSNBC March 31st, 2011

When Alexander Fleming discovered in 1928 the first antibiotic, penicillin, we believed that we had the tools necessary to beat bacteria. We understood that bacteria could develop resistance to antibiotics, but were quick to assume that scientists were always one step ahead of the game. Today, this is no longer the case. As this MSNBC article points out, antibiotic resistant superbugs have become a global problem, and we may be heading towards a pre-antibiotic era of medication where we will be unable to treat simple infections.

How did we get to this point? For many years now, we have been living in an era of antibiotic dependence. Considered “wonder drugs,” antibiotics are too often prescribed inappropriately by doctors, or are being used far more widely than for the treatment of sick patients. According to the US FDA, 29 million pounds of antibiotics are given to food-producing animals every year, accounting for ~ 80% of all antibiotics sold in the US. The more that people are exposed to these antibiotics, the higher the likelihood of them developing resistance and rendering these medications ineffective. Read More

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