The Staphylococcus Aureus bacteria are known to be responsible for Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus infections commonly referred to as MRSA. MRSA infections can affect different skin parts of the body and is considered to be serious because of its resistant nature to numerous antibodies including penicillin. For this reason, MRSA has been dubbed as the super germ.
The primary cause of the super germ is due to the overuse of antibiotics. Since the discovery of penicillin, antibiotics continue to be effective in treating bacteria related infections. However, the continued use of antibiotics has caused certain bacteria to develop resistance to antibiotic drugs like MRSA. This problem is compounded by the fact that doctors have been overprescribing antibiotics to patients.
Since antibiotics have been viewed as a “cure-all” drug, numerous physicians have been prescribing patients with sore throats, common cold, or flu symptoms with antibiotics. In some cases, antibiotics are not needed at all. In fact, patients also contribute to the rise of MRSA.
In addition to demanding drugs to cure any illness, many patients who receive antibiotics do not follow instructions given by the doctor and pharmacist. Patients frequently stop taking antibiotics once they feel better even though they are told to continue treatment for a prescribed period. Others simply forget to take the drug at the correct time. These examples of carelessness provide ample conditions for the remaining bacteria in the body to develop resistance to the drug used.
Fortunately, there are treatments available to cure patients with MRSA; however, the treatment options are limited. The fear of MRSA or any super germ is that we will eventually exhaust all treatment options available. The more drugs we use, the less the drug becomes effective. Although MRSA is known to critically affect the elderly, children, and individuals with weak immune systems, cases of healthy individuals becoming victims are rising. Today, MRSA is responsible for thousands of deaths every month in the U.S. and we can help minimize the spread of these bacteria.
The CDC promotes hand hygiene through handwashing as a means of reducing MRSA infections. MRSA can be spread through skin-to-skin contact, cuts on the skin, and even sharing personal items like towels. Good hygiene such as frequent handwashing with soap and water is one of the best ways to prevent getting MRSA and spreading it. Although MRSA is quite serious, we can do our part to prevent the spread of MRSA.
Remember, clean hands save lives!
-Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Community-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infections-Michigan. MMWR. 1981;30:185-7.
-Buckingham S, McDougal L, Cathey L;et al. Emergence of Community-Associated Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus at a Memphis, Tennessee Children's Hospital. Pediatrics Infection Disease Journal. 23(7):619-624, 2004.