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Pennsylvania Health Department Offers Measures to Reduce Spread of Drug-Resistant Staph Known as 'MRSA'
Date:9/30/2008

HARRISBURG, Pa., Sept. 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Following reports of outbreaks of a drug-resistant staph in schools and other community settings, Pennsylvania Deputy Health Secretary Michael Huff today said there are measures that people can take to reduce the risk of contracting or spreading the bacteria.

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, is a form of staph that is resistant to certain antibiotic treatments like methicillin. Staph bacteria are normally present on the skin and in the nose of many healthy people without causing any health problems. However, if staph enters the body through cuts or abrasions on the skin, it can cause an infection.

"This infection has been around for a number of years and experience has shown us that its spread can be prevented by simple measures like hand washing, practicing good hygiene, and immediately seeking medical attention when you have a skin infection," said Huff.

All forms of staph are spread by skin-to-skin contact, inadequate personal hygiene and poor disinfection. MRSA infection occurs most often among people with weakened immune systems in hospitals, nursing homes and other health care facilities, and is known as healthcare-associated MRSA.

MRSA infections can also occur among healthy individuals who have not recently been in a heath care setting. This community-associated MRSA is most commonly seen among sports teams, in schools, prisons, military facilities and other places where there is frequent skin-to-skin contact. The sharing of towels and personal hygiene items like razors, athletic equipment, clothing and drug paraphernalia also promotes the spread of staph bacteria.

On the skin, community-associated MRSA usually appears as a pimple, boil or abscess that is red, swollen, painful, and may have pus or other drainage. Patients may think early signs of infection look like a spider bite or ingrown hair. It is important for anyone who has these symptom
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SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Health
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