Washington State Senate Takes on MRSA
MRSA, or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, can cause dangerous, life-threatening invasive infections. Infections due to this bacteria cause up to 18,000 deaths a year.
The State of Washington’s Senate has reportedly approved a bill mandating that hospitals in the state will have to screen high-risk patients for MRSA. If the governor signs the bill, the hospitals will need to adopt the screening policy by January 1, 2010.
Factors that make a person “high-risk” include:
- A current or recent hospitalization. This is particularly true if you have a hospital stay of more than 14 days. A 2007 report from the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology estimated that 46 out of every 1,000 people hospitalized are infected or colonized with MRSA.
- Living in a long term care facility. MRSA is also prevalent in these facilities. Carriers of MRSA have the ability to spread it, even if they're not sick themselves.
- Invasive devices. People who are on dialysis, are catheterized, or have feeding tubes or other invasive devices are at higher risk.
- Recent antibiotic use. Treatment with fluoroquinolones (ciprofloxacin, ofloxacin or levofloxacin) or cephalosporin antibiotics can increase the risk of HA-MRSA.
- Participating in contact sports. CA-MRSA has affected sports teams. The bacteria spread easily through cuts and abrasions and skin-to-skin contact.
- Having a weakened immune system. People with weakened immune systems, such as those living with HIV/AIDS, are more likely to have severe CA-MRSA infections.
- Living in crowded or unsanitary conditions. Outbreaks of CA-MRSA have occurred in military training camps and American and European prisons.
- Association with health care workers. People who are in close contact with health care workers are at increased risk of serious staph infections.
Personal Preventive Measures From MRSA Include
* Shower daily
* Wash hands frequently
* Keep wounds covered
* Avoid contact with wound drainage
* Clean shared equipment (e.g., athletic equipment)
* Clean contaminated surfaces
* Use a barrier to bare skin when in contact with shared