MRSA or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus recently have hugged headlines as health science still had to find details of combatting the disease. It is a strain of Staphylococcus aureus resistant to methicillin and other antibiotics with about 16 epidemic strains discovered and two particular strains — clones 15 and 16 — found to be more transmissible than the others.
Infectious disease specialists say staph bacteria and methicillin-resistant strains of it are present around everybody else and that one or two percent carry colonies of MRSA in individuals’ noses or skin but are not sick. David C. Hooper, M.D., chief of infection control at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston said a patient becomes clinically infected if the organism invades the skin or deeper tissues and multiplies (Wallace, 2007).
The article discussed MRSA in a personal view as it goes through scientific and recorded details about the disease. Apparently, the first cases of MRSA were reported as early as the 1960s transmission rates have increased in recent years as MRSA-related hospital stays have more than tripled since 2000 as reported by the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (Wallace 2007). Likewise, it is to be understood as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta released a report, that MRSA in health care facilities and the outside community is more widespread than previously known.
MRSA is more prevalent in health care environments because individuals tend to be older, sicker, and weaker than the general population. The patients’ state adds to their vulnerability to infection through weakened immunity. The environment also involves more people living and working together closely and prone to transferring MRSA.
The article also pointed out the causes or processes of acquisition of the agent bacteria. This is due to developed antibiotic-resistant strains as a result of antibiotics use or from exposure to the organism. Likewise, the article also warned of the consequences of a serious infection with MRSA. When an infection develops, the range of effective antibiotics becomes limited, costly, and potentially toxic. This is apparently caused by the overuse and misuse of antibiotics, making staph mutate into ever more resistant strains.
The community described in the article is the hospital setting where physically vulnerable individuals may be in contact with MRSA. It was able to point that the community may still address properly the disease through proper hygiene and vigilance with the use of the correct technique. Wallace (2007) suggested that “Hands should be decontaminated before direct contact with patients and after every contact with patients, or potentially contaminated equipment or environment. While alcohol hand gels and rubs are a practical alternative to soap and water, alcohol is not a cleaning agent. Hands that are visibly dirty or potentially grossly contaminated must be washed with soap and water and dried thoroughly.”
Patients and staff colonized or infected with MRSA must be treated sensitively and fairly with hospitals, nursing, and residential homes and other care settings having procedures in place for managing infections. Likewise, patients should not be refused treatment, investigations, therapy, or residential care because of MRSA. It is expected that nurses should not refuse to care for a person with MRSA any other kind of infectious disease. They must have the knowledge, policy, procedures, and resources to care for them properly and safely.
If patients with MRSA are transferred from low risk to a high-risk environment, or vice versa, health care practitioners must explain fully to patients and their relatives why the patient has been moved and why some changes in practice might take place, such as isolation (CDC, 2007).
Care in the Community
The risk of serious infection with MRSA is lower in the community but threat always exists.
It is expected that community health care workers must practice standard infection control precautions, including aseptic technique for wound care at all times and not just with MRSA patients. Practitioners must properly decontaminate their hands before and after giving care, either by using soap and water or an alcohol hand rub.
Outbreaks of MRSA indicate problems with infection control practice within the health care settings. It is to be noted that the precautions to control MRSA are essentially the same as those used to control other infections and that implementation in a proactive manner could help prevent and control the spread of MRSA and possible outbreaks. To reduce and contain the spread of MRSA, all those involved such as patients and their relatives, primary, secondary, and independent care settings must practice standard infection control precautions and communicate properly.
Wallace, David. (2007). “MRSA Infections: Deconstructing the Superbug.” Web.
David C. Hooper, M.D., chief of infection control at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2008). Web.
Nicole Coffin, spokesperson Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Stephen Peters, director of laboratory medicine at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington.
Health care professionals recommend these general steps:
- Wash your hands with soap and water, scrubbing for at least 20 seconds, or use an alcohol hand rub.
- Avoid sharing personal items like towels and razors.
- Cover wounds with clean, dry bandages.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces that come in contact with skin infections.
- Check with management to see that gym equipment is cleaned before and after use—or wipe it down yourself with a disinfectant.
Hospital patients (or their advocates) are urged to:
- Ask medical personnel if they’ve washed their hands.
- Ask what the hospital is doing to reduce MRSA infections.
- Ask for assurances that an antibiotic is given before surgery.
- Ask to have a catheter and intravenous sites checked frequently and removed as soon as they are no longer needed.
- Keep away visitors who are ill.