MRSA: The New AIDS

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by jason_els, Jan 15, 2008.

  1. jason_els

    jason_els <img border="0" src="/images/badges/gold_member.gi

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    "Once this reaches the general population, it will be truly unstoppable," said Binh Diep, a researcher at the University of California, San Francisco who led the study. "That's why we're trying to spread the message of prevention."

    19,000 men died of it in 2005.

    Bet you didn't hear that on CNN.

    All quotes from this article.
     
  2. SpoiledPrincess

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    mrsa has been big in British hospital's for a few years now, it's very difficult to treat but I think they're being extremely alarmist comparing it to aids.
     
  3. Guy-jin

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    Nice topic, even though MRSA is far from new (it's just that it's only now, for some reason, getting attention).

    I was taught in my microbiology classes five years ago that MRSA would hit the population and rapidly become one of our most dangerous and feared diseases.

    Nobody really listened because there was another disease touted to be that dangerous--SARS--which turned out to be fairly tame and certainly not deadly for most people who caught it.

    MRSA is the first bacteria in decades that we can't stop by chugging antibiotics. We haven't come up with a truly new wonder-antibiotic in too long now.

    The only treatment right now is prevention. The lack of sanitary practice in American culture, at least, is truly appalling, so we as individuals are forced to watch out for ourselves.

    Here's how I live right now, as resident of a densely populated American city:
    • I carry a bottle of ethanol jelly (Purel, to be exact) everywhere and use it after I'm forced to touch anything in public with my bare hands.
    • I try to avoid touching things in public with my bare hands. I never touch anything in a public bathroom with my bare hands. I always use a paper towel, and if they don't have any and have a blower, I use toilet paper.
    • I wash my hands before eating or touching my face (or anywhere on my body). I wash them after I get back to work from lunch, and right after I get home from work. I don't stop to touch a bunch of things beforehand--washing them is my first stop.
    • I wash my hands after touching any money.
    • In the past, I've worn a particle-filtering mask when I'm going to be on a crowded bus during flu season. I've been debating doing it again.
    • I've had my allergies treated because severe allergies make it easier to catch airborne diseases.
    • My goal in my house is to avoid letting external bacteria and viruses in and killing them if they do.
    Since getting my allergies treated about 8 months ago and practicing sanitation this way, I haven't been sick once. (Just prior to getting them treated, I had a terrible tonsilitis in spite of my sanitary ways.)

    Anyway, taking this many steps to be sanitary seems to work for me. I'm not too worried about MRSA for myself personally because I'm aware of it and take these steps. Some people might think it's overkill, but to me, it's become routine, and I see the results in the fact that I no longer get sick, so I intend to continue doing it.

    And I promise, I do not have OCD. :biggrin1:

    (I'm not commenting on the comparison to AIDS or the idea that MRSA is a "gay disease" because I don't think it's true. I think the reasons for an increased prevalence in gays in San Francisco are fairly obvious, and gay men should try to be aware and take the steps they need to avoid it, just as they hopefully do with HIV now.)


     
  4. B_jacknapier

    B_jacknapier New Member

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    bestiality
     
  5. B_houugadunor

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    Half of me wants to say this is a case of overhype and scare mongering but the other half of me believes that most people thought that about AIDS. An interesting comparison if not slightly dramaticised.
     
  6. Bbucko

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    I've had both, and believe me...MRSA is curable, HIV is forever.
     
  7. B_stanmarsh14

    B_stanmarsh14 New Member

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    As SP has pointed out, MRSA in British hospitals seams to be constantly thrown into the spotlight in the press here, and has been responsable for a number of deaths in British hospitals, including my mothers neighbours aunt, whom just went in with a broken hip.

    A quick search on the BBC's news site will turn up a number of cases: BBC - Search results for mrsa
     
  8. Viking_UK

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    S.aureus is one of the bacteria that's found on our skin naturally. It can live there for years and not cause any problems. It's only when it gets inside our bodies that it causes infections, usually through a wound. Most of these can be treated without too much trouble using antibiotics, but some strains of the bug are resistant to the common antibiotics.

    We've brought a lot of this on ourselves because doctors have been throwing antibiotics at every disease and infection since they were first discovered whether it was necessary or not. Another problem is that patients feel better after a few days on antibiotics so they don't finish the course. If your doc gives you a two week course, finish it unless you have side-effects, and even then, don't stop taking them without consulting your doctor. Bugs have their own ways of responding to antibiotics and antivirals the same way we have an immune system to defend against them. Bacteria that survive antibiotic exposure often become resistant to that antibiotic. What's worse is they can transfer resistance between each other. It's along the lines of, say your cousin has measles and recovers, he or she becomes immune to it and can pass that immunity on to you or anyone else in your family. Shame we can't do that, eh?

    We have an immune system for a reason. It will take care of most infections by itself, but occasionally it needs a little help. With most bugs (bacteria, viruses, etc), you're sick for a week or two, but then you recover and you'll never be bothered by that strain again because you're immune to it. Different strain of the same bug, different story, unless you're lucky enough to have antibodies to something it has in common with the bug you've just recovered from (without going into too much detail about immunology). In some cases your system needs a bit of help. There are bugs which will kill you before your immune system even gets going because, for example, they produce toxins. Some bugs change their coats regularly to fool the immune system. That's what happens in diseases like malaria. Others go dormant or hide inside cells and come out every now and again for one reason or another. That's what happes with herpes. These are the types of diseases that need antibiotics and extra treatments in heathy individuals, or if an infection doesn't start improving within a few days. If your immune system is compromised, then, yes, antibiotics are necessary.

    Hospitals should be as clean as possible, ideally sterile, but there's no way to achieve that yet. However, standards of cleanliness should be high. Sadly, they're being dropped to cut costs. A lot of hosptial-acquired infections have been passed on by doctors and nurses not washing their hands between patients. I'm reminded of a bit of advice I was given to me when I began my microbiology degree: "A wise microbiologist washes his hands before and after going to the toilet."

    Living in a sterile environment is all well and good, but that can lead to problems in itself. If your immune system isn't being challenged it can become hyper-reactive. That's one of the reasons being put forward for an increase in the number of patients with severe allergies. The immune system can also turn on the body, which is happening in many auto-immune diseases. That has again been attributed to it becoming, in effect, "bored" at having nothing to do. Each time you fight off an infection, you become immune to it. If you've never had any diseases, you won't have any immunity. You can produce hundreds of different antibodies to different bugs and the various antigens on them. Those will give you some degree of protection from other related bugs, so, ideally, what you want is to become immune to as many diseases as possible - ideally without getting too sick in the process. So, don't stop your kids crawling around on the floor or playing with worms etc. Do get your dogs and cats wormed though and there are a couple of nasty diseases they can catch from them too.
     
  9. Ethyl

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    Aside from sinus treatment, I perform each of these steps religiously. I work in a bookstore where books and money are passed from person to person and the rate of illness is particularly higher than most work environments as a result. The company keeps antibacterial gel all around the store, especially at the information desk where the computers are and at the cash registers to combat the problem but it's still not enough to keep the colds/flus at bay. The only other work environment i've been that was worse was preschool. Children are notorious for bringing all kinds of fun germs from home to school with them.
     
  10. bottombuddy

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    unfortunately hospitals blame the spread of this on visitors but believe me i have seen alot of shocking and unhygenic stuff being done by nurses in hospitals..and all ive had was a dirty look from most when ive pulled them up about things theyve just done in front of me........nurses and most nursing so called professionals have the very wrong attitude like they cant be arsed anymore so dont clean as they go to the high standards they should have.

    i for one hope that i will one day never end up in a hospital because i know ill come out feeling worse than when i went in.
     
  11. jeff black

    jeff black <img border="0" src="/images/badges/gold_member.gi

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    Quoted for truth.

    I've never seen so many diseases in one place. I'll be purchasing a LARGE bottle of hand cleaner VERY soon.
     
  12. Principessa

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    I love when even real news stations sensationalize an otherwise boring story. :rolleyes::mad:. When it comes to matters of communicable disease I prefer to get my information from the CDC or NIH.


    AMEN! I have survived MRSA and a wicked bad post-op Staphylococcus aureus. I'd rather have both again than deal with HIV.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Sure am glad I read this thread before posting a new thread on the same subject! :eek: When I read this on the nytimes.com site I thougt it was noteworthy but sensationalistic. IMO, the addition of flesh-eating :tongue: bacteria to the MRSA is what makes it more tabloid-like than newsy in this rendition.


    By LAWRENCE K. ALTMAN January 15, 2008

    A new, highly drug-resistant strain of the “flesh-eating” MRSA bacteria is being spread among gay men in San Francisco and Boston, researchers reported on Monday.
    In a study published online by the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, the bacteria seemed to be spread most easily through anal intercourse but also through casual skin-to-skin contact and touching contaminated surfaces.
     
  13. Industrialsize

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    Just to calm the hysteria........For a "healthy person with an intact immune system......MRSA poses little threat......in fact many people carry the bacteria and don't know it......I used to work as a nurse in a hospital and we would all be periodically checked for MRSA and many nurses in fact did carry the bug with NO ill effects.....It's another story for the elderly, infirmed, and immunocomprimised, it can cause them problems but still remains treatable....MRSA has been with us for decades.....There is actually a more deadly superbug called VRE or Vancomycin resistant enterococcus......google it for more info.....
     
  14. Lex

    Lex
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    Working in a school for many years forced me to take on these habits and it has greatly reduced my incidences of illness. Simply washing your hands with warm water and soap and keeping your fingers out of your mouth, nose and eyes can go a long way.

    Indy--thanks for the info.

    Dateline had a spot on MRSA a few months ago (or was it 60 Minutes?) where they were profiling a high school football squad where the players were constantly infecting each other via the locker room: wet towels, etc. Many of the players were very ill and the school and team had to take some drastic steps to stop the reinfection rate.
     
  15. bjvixen

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    i work in the healthcare field and yes VRE and MRSA are both pretty popular in hospitals.Sad thing is its ususally spread by the caregivers to other patients who do NOT have VRE/MRSA it's spread by touching affected objects (i.e linens,furniture,the patient etc etc). Hospital staff are always gowned up,masks and gloves and must degown in the patients hospital room and wash their hands before leaving the room. Sometimes they may touch somthing BEFORE they leave unknowingly and PRESTO! we have spread it!Caregivers are usually healthy so it dont affect us but someone sick with a low immune sysytem it could be deadly to them!:(
     
  16. IntoxicatingToxin

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    Uh... this is the EXACT behavior that's helping it gain strength... there is no reason to use antibiotic creams. MOST doctors will tell you to do regular handwashing.
     
  17. Principessa

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    Sorry TMM, but using Purell or similar alcohol based gels is not what is helping the spread of MRSA's. It's when people go to the doctor or ER and demand antibiotics for treatment when it is unneccessary. The human body then builds up a resistance over time to antibiotics so that when a true infection needs treatment very little or nothing works. :frown1:

    The following is from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) site and may be of interest.

    Are certain people at increased risk for community-associated staph or MRSA infections?
    CDC has investigated clusters of CA-MRSA skin infections among athletes, military recruits, children, Pacific Islanders, Alaskan Natives, Native Americans, men who have sex with men, and prisoners.
    Factors that have been associated with the spread of MRSA skin infections include: close skin-to-skin contact, openings in the skin such as cuts or abrasions, contaminated items and surfaces, crowded living conditions, and poor hygiene.
    How can I prevent staph or MRSA skin infections?
    Practice good hygiene:
    1. Keep your hands clean by washing thoroughly with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
    2. Keep cuts and scrapes clean and covered with a bandage until healed.
    3. Avoid contact with other people’s wounds or bandages.
    4. Avoid sharing personal items such as towels or razors.
    Are people who are positive for the human immune deficiency virus (HIV) at increased risk for MRSA? Should they be taking special precautions?

    People with weakened immune systems, which include some patients with HIV infection, may be at risk for more severe illness if they get infected with MRSA. People with HIV should follow the same prevention measures as those without HIV to prevent staph infections, including practice good hygiene, cover wounds (e.g., cuts or abrasions) with clean dry bandages, avoid sharing personal items such as towels and razors, and contact their doctor if they think they have an infection.
    Can I get a staph or MRSA infection at my health club?
    In the outbreaks of MRSA, the environment has not played a significant role in the transmission of MRSA. MRSA is transmitted most frequently by direct skin-to-skin contact. You can protect yourself from infections by practicing good hygiene (e.g., keeping your hands clean by washing with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand rub and showering after working out); covering any open skin area such as abrasions or cuts with a clean dry bandage; avoiding sharing personal items such as towels or razors; using a barrier (e.g., clothing or a towel) between your skin and shared equipment; and wiping surfaces of equipment before and after use.
    IMHO: Those of you with weak immune systems, who like to steal strangers panties, undies, or jocks for masturbation purposes are at a higher risk for MRSA than the general public. I'm just saying . . . :rolleyes:
     
  18. D_Roland_D_Hay

    D_Roland_D_Hay Account Disabled

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    Not only is he hot, but he is intelligent as well. What a god!!!:biggrin1:

    I have heard about MRSA and take precautions, but I appreciate the information that you are all sharing.
     
  19. bjvixen

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    there is also a SUPERBUG because of this antibiotic soap.
     
  20. Principessa

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    Indy, you know I am addicted to googling medical information! Why do you torture me like this? :tongue:

    Enteroccocci are bacteria that are normally present in the human intestines and in the female genital tract and are often found in the environment. These bacteria can sometimes cause infections. Vancomycin is an antibiotic that is often used to treat infections caused by enterococci. In some instances, enterococci have become resistant to this drug and thus are called vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE). Most VRE infections occur in hospitals.



    VRE can live in the human intestines and female genital tract without causing disease. However, sometimes, it can be the cause of urinary track infections, blood stream infections and wound infections.


    Are certain people at risk of getting VRE?

    The following persons are at an increased risk becoming infected with VRE:
    • <LI class=answer>Persons who have been previously treated with vancomycin and combinations of other antibiotics such as penicillin and gentamicin <LI class=answer>Persons who are hospitalized, particularly when they receive antibiotic treatment for long periods of time <LI class=answer>Persons with weakened immune systems such as patients in Intensive Care Units, or in cancer or transplant wards <LI class=answer>Persons who have undergone surgical procedures such as abdominal or chest surgery
    • Persons with medical devices that stay in for some time such as urinary catheters or central intravenous catheters.
    How common is VRE?

    VRE was not reported in U.S. hospitals until 1989. Data reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention during 2004 showed that VRE caused about 1 of every 3 infections in hospital intensive care units.


    What is the treatment for VRE?

    Most VRE infections can be treated with antibiotics other than vancomycin. The treatment of VRE is determined by laboratory testing to determine which antibiotics are effective. For persons who get VRE infections and have urinary catheters, removal of the catheter when it is no longer needed can help getting rid of the infection. People who are colonized (bacteria are present, but have no symptoms of an infection) with VRE do not usually need treatment.


    How is VRE spread?

    VRE is usually passed to others by direct contact with stool, urine or blood containing VRE. It can also be spread indirectly via the hands of healthcare providers or on contaminated environmental surfaces. VRE usually is not spread through casual contact such as touching or hugging. VRE is not spread through the air by coughing or sneezing.


    How can I prevent the spread of VRE?

    If you or someone in your household has VRE, the following are some measures to prevent spread of VRE:
    • <LI class=answer>Always wash your hands thoroughly after using the bathroom and before preparing food. Clean your hands after close contact with persons who have VRE. Wash with soap and water (particularly when visibly soiled) or clean with alcohol-based hand cleaner. <LI class=answer>Frequently clean areas of your home such as your bathroom that may become contaminated with VRE. Use a household disinfectant or a mixture of one-fourth cup bleach and one quart of water to clean those areas and surfaces that are touched frequently. <LI class=answer>Wear gloves if you may come in contact with body fluids that may contain VRE, such as stool. Always wash your hands after removing gloves.
    • Be sure to tell any healthcare providers that you have VRE so that they are aware of your infection.
    • What should I do if I think I have VRE?
    Talk with your healthcare provider and get medical care if you think you have VRE.
     
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