Guidelines May Stop MRSA Outbreaks

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A Columbia woman’s battle with a flesh-eating disease is part of a growing concern over MRSA. 

As Mary Bubala explains, health experts are urging the use of new guidelines to help prevent the spread of the deadly bacteria.

Sandy Wilson looks healthy now, but a few years ago, the Columbia woman nearly died when a bacteria called MRSA ravaged her body.

“I ended up with losing a third of my stomach, a third of my pancreas, about half of my small bowel, my spleen, my gallbladder and they did an appendectomy while they were in there,” Wilson said.

MRSA is now the most common cause of skin infections and it’s deadly, killing 18,000 people a year, because the staph bacteria is resistant to some antibiotics and can be difficult to treat.  Infectious disease experts are recommending new guidelines.  They’re advising doctors which drugs work best and also urging not to overprescribe.

“Many patients with simple skin abscesses will not need antibiotics.  All they may require is drainage of the abscess,” said Dr. David Talan, Olive View-UCLA Medical Center.

The so-called flesh-eating bacteria was initially found in hospitals, but it’s now spreading in dorms, schools, daycares and locker rooms.

“Where there is a lot of contact, like wrestling.  Even football players, including professional football teams, have had outbreaks of MRSA,” Talan said.

As for what the public can do?  Keep hands, cuts and scrapes clean.  Don’t share personal items, like toothbrushes or razors.

Wilson likely contracted MRSA in the hospital, possibly when she had a C-section.

“I knew that I had this little baby at home that I was trying really hard to get home to,” she said.

She considers herself lucky to have survived.

MRSA skin infections are often mistaken for spider bites.  They account for 60 percent of all infections in emergency rooms.

More from Mary Bubala
  • Laura Ciccone

    Please read this story.

  • KottaMan

    MRSA is no joke. My younger brother got it at a Baltimore-area hospital five years ago. He ended up in and out of treatment and needed five lung operations in four years and ended up losing 3/4 of one lung, his job, and filed for bankruptcy. He originally went in for an outpatient elbow orthopedic operation and ended up like this! The hospital denied he caught it there despite that it was forced within a few months to shut down all of its emergency rooms and have a disinfection contract firm come in and process the place. Several attorneys he later spoke with said they would take the case “if you can prove you got MRSA there.” You gotta be kidding me. Folks, be careful out there.

    • Joan Howell

      Mrsa is no joke it is airborne. Hospitals swap the noses of patients when they come in to the ER and then again when they exit the hospital. So what about the visitors? They get it and then leave and seem fine until they get an open wound they it attacks them.

  • Joan Howell

    swab noses I t would be interesting to swap noses! LOL Sorry about that!

  • J

    MRSA is not an airborne pathogen. It is spread through contact, which is why patients that have the bacteria are placed on “contact” isolation. Further, the nose is swabbed upon admission to determine if the patient is colonized.. I’ve worked in health care for 6 years and I have never heard of a MRSA screening being done at discharge.

  • JH

    My mom was screened at discharge when she was in the hospital just about a month ago.

  • JH

    Significance of Airborne Transmission of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus in an Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery Unit1
    In this 2001 study, Japanese doctors attempted to measure if MRSA could be found in the air of a surgical hospital ward. The rooms of three patients who acquired MRSA after surgery were monitored with air samplers and surface swabbing.
    MRSA was detected in all three rooms in the air and on surfaces. 20% of the MRSA particles were within the respirable range, of less than 4 µm. J needs to do the homework there is evidence MRSA IS AIRBORNE

    • J

      Please cite your source and I’ll gladly educate myself.

  • Ken

    Good blog post re this: The Nose – “Ground Zero” for MRSA colonization.

  • JH

    MRSA an airborne pathogen – Aerobiological Engineering Handbook Wladyslaw Jan Kowalski Pages -537 & 779 I think you will find this book very enlightening.

  • JH
  • Bioni USA

    MRSA is more serious than most realize and want to admit. We’ve developed a paint which can be used on walls, ceilings, door which provided a 5-log reduction on the paint film.

  • Sandy

    My husband just found out today he has MRSA in his arm, they don’t swab noses in the ER to test people. We were ther a few days ago. Plus I am being tested as a carrier of MRSA tomorrow with a nose swab. But Ironically the dr told us that nearly 30% of people are carriers and lots of public places have it on surfaces we touch every day. You just have to have a weak immune system at the time and an open wound. It travels from wound to wound or from objects to wounds. My husband and I were both sick when he had a bug bite and pinched it and now its infected with it. With ongoing treatment hopefully it will get better. It is very serious and should not be taken lightly. I may be the carrier more likely because I work in a rest home and the elderly have it more often. Hospitals are also commonly great sources to get it. It is an evolving bacteria and has to be treated case by case.

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