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Fittingly Mad: Super Bugs Are Super Scary

A super bug with a super long name is getting a lot of press lately. Necessary press too, I think. I am not talking about a six legged creature that crawls on your skin. No, I am talking about a strain of staph bacteria that are incredibly resistant to antibiotics. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (that is the super long name), but referred to as MRSA, has caused more deaths each year in the US than AIDS.

MRSA was believed to be prevalent only in hospitals and nursing homes, but after a high school football player recently contracted the deadly strain of bacteria, investigations have found it at day care centers, gyms, and lockers rooms. The major culprit behind the spread of the MRSA is hygiene! The bacteria are easily thwarted by hand washing and proper hygiene. Although this strain of staph does not respond to penicillin or related antibiotics (it can be treated with other drugs), when on the surface of the skin or in the nose it is fairly harmless. It is when the bacteria enters the blood stream through an open wound that the infection can become deadly.

Since MRSA is actually fairly common, high school athletes are being told to wash their uniforms regularly, not to share uniforms and to shower. These measures should help prevent the bacteria spreading from athlete to athlete.

Over 85% of MRSA infections occur in medical settings, and hand washing standards will need to be increased to help keep the bacteria contained. I still think that 15% of the infections coming from outside medical facilities is way too high. I also think that 19,000 annual deaths are way too many. Hopefully, some new antibiotics will be coming our way soon to deal with these ever evolving super bugs!


who_arexyou who_arexyou 9 years
There's MRSA going around our area, so everyday at school we're getting papers on it, and in HR watching video's about how to revent it, etc. It's pretty bad. There's at least 1 student in each of our district's middle schools in isolation because of MRSA. I've become a germaphobic in the last week.
kiddylnd kiddylnd 10 years
We just had a big story about MRSA here in WA, because it turns out that it is not reported and or recorded in our state hospitals. So nobody knows how bad it really is here. Scary!
SweetPeasMom SweetPeasMom 10 years
Have any of you read "The Omnivore's Dilemma"? I find it really scary to think about how we're all constantly getting a low dose of antibiotics through meat since cows are pumped with antibiotics before they are slaughtered to kill the e coli they can develop from eating corn. Makes me want to eat less meat. I think it's smart to try to avoid antibiotics unless they are necessary, the overuse of them can be dangerous,, as people pointed out above, because it can create superbugs. I think prevention is the best cure... wash your hands frequently, practice good hygeine and avoid germy people and places when you can.
matildaforfree matildaforfree 10 years
I think what is really scary is that we are creating these super bugs because of our obsession with antibiotics and other germ killers. It's a very dark conflict. On one side antibiotics have drastically advanced medical treatments and world health but on the other side we are creating a darker future that we can only hope to be able to fight when the time comes.
Re88 Re88 10 years
Something else to be paranoid about. Whatever happened with the bird flu? I try to avoid places with a lot of germs and I wash my hands a lot during the day, before I eat and after. Hopefully, they will find more information about this super bug and how to prevent catching it
amandaaa amandaaa 10 years
ahhh we talked about this in chemistry on thursday. then we did a little assignment about taking your antibiotics, and how most people stop taking them after five days. however, if you do that, the germs will double even more so after that point and create superbugs. basically.
ohmondieu ohmondieu 10 years
MRSA is really big new in the UK at the moment. It's dreadful how all these people who have been going to hospital have been catching this superbug and then getting even more ill!
Spectra Spectra 10 years
I'm a microbiologist (meaning: I deal with germs ALL THE TIME) and antibiotic-resistant bacteria are a very real threat. Not just MRSA, but all sorts of other bugs are becoming resistant due to antibacterial products. These products kill the weak bacteria (99.9% of them or so), but the other 0.1% that survive multiply and make the strain stronger. The best way to prevent bacterial infections of any kind is to be very vigilant about washing your hands, keep a very close eye on open wounds, and try to avoid places that have a lot of germs (hospitals, locker rooms, clinics, etc.) if you do have an open wound. Oh, and exercise and a diet high in antioxidants never hurts to boost your own immune system.
alethia037 alethia037 10 years
I had MRSA last year, and it was brutal. I am very healthy, eat very well, and stay very fit. I got MRSA while visiting Chicago... it started as in infection in what I thought was a razor burn spot. Within a day it was a red spot the size of a silver dollar, and within 2 days was 6 inches in diameter, hot to the touch, and starting to pus. I caught it quickly and went on antibiotics, but by the time it was out of my system completely, I had 3 visible infections... the 2 new ones just popped up out of nowhere. The most important thing is to keep an eye on any open wounds you have, including razor burn, acne, and minor cuts and burns!
bp99 bp99 10 years
Are you sure that we should be wishing for a new wonder-antibiotic? Instead, i maximize the exercise and eating habits that will help my immune system fight whatever it comes across itself. If we created MRSA by our over the top hygiene and germ-phobic behaviour maybe we should change paths, not get another more powerful drug to fix our mess.
moonischasingme1 moonischasingme1 10 years
"MRSA was believed to be prevalent only in hospitals and nursing homes..." I think this is false information because during an inservice recently from infectious control they were talking about how a lot of MRSA is coming from the community.
moonischasingme1 moonischasingme1 10 years
I wonder why just in this past week there has been so much reporting on MRSA?? I am a nursing student and every time I go into the hospital either as a SN or PCT, there are isolation patients because they have either MRSA, VRE, or CDiff. It is out of control.
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