Myths About MRSA Infections

MRSA Myth #1: Methicillin Resistant Staph Aureus is a new Problem

This is simply not true. MRSA has been it a problem in the hospital environment for years. Microbial resistance first showed up shortly after the introduction of penicillin into mass use. The medical community has had a problem with resistant bacteria for a long time and it has known about it. Every hospital in the US has an Infection Control Coordinator whose job it is to monitor infection rates in these institutions. The MRSA antibiotic susceptibility rates (along with those of other known super bugs) are monitored with incredible accuracy because the hospital must know when an antibiotic isn’t working. It is important for an hospital to know when their antibiotic formulary choices are no longer effective.

MRSA Myth #2: MRSA Infections are not Deadly

If not identified quickly and treated appropriately, death from MRSA infection is a real possibility. It is important to have culture and susceptibility testing on the wound to be sure the antibiotic regimen is appropriate. This test procedure takes about 48-72 hours. This testing will identify what type of organism is causing the infection and determine the appropriate course of antibiotic treatment. The worst treatment is the antibiotic treatment that will not work. It is a terrible costly waste of precious time and money.

MRSA Myth #3: MRSA is Transmitted by person-to-person contact.

Yes, this is one mechanism of   transmission  from patient to patient, and as it may be the primary means acquiring a MRSA infection, this fact underscores the need for diligent hand washing by anyone in contact with hospital patients. What is not often addressed is that MRSA can also be contracted from equipment used in the hospital and also from the environment.

MRSA Myth #4: MRSA is the only Resistant organism

Not true! Methicillin resistant staph aureus is the organism that has gotten the recent press coverage, but there are a number of other multiply-resistant microorganisms out there. For instance, the organism that causes TB has developed resistance which is well documented. Beyond these, there are a number of other super bugs we should all be concerned about.

MRSA Myth #5: MRSA Infections are limited to Humans

Believe it or not, MRSA can infect animals, too. In addition to person-to-person  transmission , MRSA infections can also be transmitted from person-to-animal. MRSA infections have been found in dogs and cats and other animals. The presence of MRSA in animals is manifested in the same way as human infection. We should be concerned about the health and safety of our pets, too.