MRSA Update

Pictures of M-R-S-A---a staph infection that begins with a cut to the skin--can look as harmless as a spider bite, to severaly inflammed and exposed skin. What makes it unique...the infection is resistant to most kinds of antibiotics and if left untreated can lead to a more extensive problems

Dr. Randall Todd, Washoe County's Epidemiologist says exposure and reacation to it varies from person to person:

" A vast majority of these infections are going to be superficial but when it becomes invasive it can becoem very serious and indeed life threatening."

Dr Todd says local laboratories have been monitoring MRSA for several years. As a result of that monitoring we know that in 2001 31-percent of staph monitored was resistant to methicillin...five years later, 48-percent were resistant.

There is more than one reason for the increase. Dr. Todd says some physicians are too readily prescribing antibiotics...and some patients are demanding antibiotics when they really don't need them...then Dr. Todd says, those same patients may not be taking the medication as directed.

" What it does is leaves some of the bugs that are naturally resistant to the antibiotic alive so they can propagate now we have a new colony. Microorganisms that are all resistant that are resistant to that particular drug."

MRSA infections are more commonly found in close quarters, prisons, day cares, schools. While this infection is not reportable, Dr. Todd says if a cluster of this infection were to be found, the health department would step in and take measures to isolate and diffuse the problem.