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Good Hygiene Is Key to Preventing MRSA
Date:11/7/2007

College of American Pathologists recommends regular hand washing to decrease the spread of antibiotic-resistant staph infections

NORTHFIELD, Ill., Nov. 7 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a germ with a big name that is suddenly causing big problems for schools and communities across the nation. Commonly referred to as a "superbug," MRSA is a kind of bacteria that causes staph infections that do not respond to treatment with common antibiotics, such as penicillins. Until recently, cases of MRSA were most commonly seen in hospitals and healthcare facilities; however, a growing number of reported infections are now emerging in the general population.

"Whether it's in a hospital or at a school, MRSA is usually transmitted by direct skin-to-skin contact," said Kathleen G. Beavis, MD, FCAP, a pathologist at Stroger Hospital of Cook County (formerly Cook County Hospital) in Chicago, who specializes in microbiology and infectious diseases. "What most people may be unaware of is that an individual does not have to appear sick -- or present symptoms -- to carry this type of bacteria on their bodies. In fact, these individuals are the most common source of transmission."

In addition to direct contact with an infected person, MRSA bacteria can live on common surfaces, such as a table, for a day or weeks and can be transmitted when someone touches it. If a person does contract MRSA, the infection will most likely appear as a skin infection in the form of pustules or boils, which often are red, swollen, painful, or have pus or other drainage. These skin infections commonly occur at the sites of visible skin trauma, such as cuts and abrasions, and areas of the body covered by hair.

Most MRSA-related skin infections can be effectively treated, with or without antibiotics, by draining the pus. However, more than 94,000 Americans contracted MRSA infections in 2005, with nearly 19,000 of those cases asso
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SOURCE College of American Pathologists
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