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Drug resistant staph
Old 10-17-2007, 10:25 AM   #1
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Drug resistant staph

So now we have drug resistant staph to add to worries about bird flu and brain eating bacteria.

Drug-Resistant Staph Germ's Toll Is Higher Than Thought

A dangerous germ that has been spreading around the country causes more life-threatening infections than public health authorities had thought and is killing more people in the United States each year than the AIDS virus, federal health officials reported yesterday.

The microbe, a strain of a once innocuous staph bacterium that has become invulnerable to first-line antibiotics, is responsible for more than 94,000 serious infections and nearly 19,000 deaths each year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calculated.
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Old 10-17-2007, 11:29 AM   #2
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Yes, and there is another that has been found to be the cause of kids drug resistant ear infections (Boston).

Back to the behaviors taught when I went to grade school in the early 40s: wash your hands, wash wounds quickly and thoroughly.
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Old 10-17-2007, 11:32 AM   #3
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We call it MRSA (pronounced "mirsa") for methicillin-resistant staph aureus. It is a big problem in hospitals. It's a result of widespread (and sometimes inappropriate) antibiotic use, among other things. We are barely one step ahead of the bacterium with antibiotics, but some I've seen in the last few months are getting very tough to treat.

To make it worse, the necessary drugs often run in the $2000 per month range.
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Old 10-17-2007, 11:45 AM   #4
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My grandniece had MRSA. The hospital where she was staying was very very good about hygiene. All staff had to wear a new gown, hat and gloves when in her room and dispose of them when they left. They washed their hands coming and going. So did we as visitors, plus there was a container of hand cleaner foam right outside her door. She had her own set of toys which were subsequently thrown away so no other child would touch them.
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Old 10-17-2007, 12:42 PM   #5
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How frightening. I hope she recovered?

Ha
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Old 10-17-2007, 12:56 PM   #6
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She was on a liver/intestine transplant list and didn't make it. She didn't die of the MRSA.
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Old 10-17-2007, 12:58 PM   #7
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Martha, I am very sorry about this terrible loss.

Ha
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Old 10-17-2007, 01:08 PM   #8
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Thanks Ha.

When she was ill we learned a lot about MRSA. Many carry this resistant bacteria on their skin. I heard, I don't know about the validity, that things like sharing wet gym towels in school (think snapping that towel on your buddy) can pass MRSA quickly amongst a large group.
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Old 10-17-2007, 01:34 PM   #9
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...and here in Virginia, we just had a high school senior die from it.....and it has even shown up locally....in the gyms.....a lot of the schools are shutting down their gyms for a "cleaning day"! ....let's get them germs
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Old 10-17-2007, 01:36 PM   #10
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I'm so sorry. This type of thing is becoming more and more "relevant" to us as Tori's heart surgery grows near. It seems we need an entirely different way to attack these superbugs, all I hear about it sounds like an arms race as we make stronger anti-biotics and a few years later, it's resistant to that one, too.
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Old 10-17-2007, 01:37 PM   #11
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She was on a liver/intestine transplant list and didn't make it. She didn't die of the MRSA.
Very sorry to hear that, must have been a tremendous loss. The loss of a young person is particularly sad.
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Old 10-17-2007, 05:02 PM   #12
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I wonder, and maybe Rich has an opinion on this, is the increasing use of herbal anti bacterials and (purported) anti virals like oregano oil, tea tree oil, and other concentrates of natural products with antibiotic like properties contributing to the problem of resistant strains? I have found the ones I mentioned fairly effective but worry a bit about continual use (soaps, oral supplements) that might be contributory to super bugs.
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Old 10-17-2007, 05:24 PM   #13
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I just saw on the evening news that a local high school (SE Michigan) is closed while it is sanitized following a MRSA incident involving the football team. Scary stuff.
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Old 10-17-2007, 05:51 PM   #14
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I wonder, and maybe Rich has an opinion on this, is the increasing use of herbal anti bacterials and (purported) anti virals like oregano oil, tea tree oil, and other concentrates of natural products with antibiotic like properties contributing to the problem of resistant strains? I have found the ones I mentioned fairly effective but worry a bit about continual use (soaps, oral supplements) that might be contributory to super bugs.
No, I haven't seen anything credible to cause concern there. And topical things like Purell and other anitseptics work by physically damaging the microorganisms so they don't generate resistance as a rule.

Much of the antibiotic use is in the food chain, too, not just human medications. It's rampant. This is one of those events that has happened so fast that I have seen major changes in only 32 years of practice (not very long as these things go). All in all, iit's a serious problem but one we can generally manage. Patients who are immunocompromised are the most vulnerable.
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Old 10-17-2007, 06:12 PM   #15
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Much of the antibiotic use is in the food chain, too, not just human medications. It's rampant. This is one of those events that has happened so fast that I have seen major changes in only 32 years of practice (not very long as these things go). All in all, iit's a serious problem but one we can generally manage.

Are you talking about the antibiotics fed to cattle? I try to avoid buying it...
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Old 10-17-2007, 06:31 PM   #16
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Are you talking about the antibiotics fed to cattle? I try to avoid buying it...
Yep, that's a big problem. Farmers give the cattle antibiotics before they are even sick in order to prevent infection and fatten them up. The medicated cow herds are an ideal place for the bacteria to develop resistance.

Other big problems in this regard are third-world countries where antibiotics are sold over the counter and are widely taken even when the sickness is not caused by bacteria. And sometimes people aren't good about finishing the required series of medications, allowing the few survivors to breed and pass on resistance. And docs who give out antibiotics to patients who demand them, even when they are pretty sure the disease is viral in origin.

Wash those hands!
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Old 10-17-2007, 06:38 PM   #17
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Antibiotic and hormone free beef is becoming cheaper and more widely available, we buy it all the time at a store called "Sprouts" - it's like a Boney's, or Henry's...kind of a whole foods store...I'm trailing off because I just realized not everybody lives in California.

I'm curious, the beef I buy says hormone free, anti-biotic free, free-range, etc. etc. but it's not labeled "organic". What's the deal? Is it just too hard to get certified?


Back on OP, I wonder of antibiotics have temporarily suppressed the usual cycle of infection related die-offs with humans. The flu epidemic in the early 20th killed something like 1% of the world population, right? What will the worlds response be to a superflu that laughs at our antibiotics?
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Old 10-17-2007, 06:55 PM   #18
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She was on a liver/intestine transplant list and didn't make it. She didn't die of the MRSA.
Martha, I am so sorry for your loss !
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Old 10-17-2007, 07:34 PM   #19
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A The flu epidemic in the early 20th killed something like 1% of the world population, right? What will the worlds response be to a superflu that laughs at our antibiotics?
Influenza is a viral disease, so antibiotics aren't useful against it (though they can sometimes be useful if there are accompanying opportunistic bacterial infections). For viral diseases, vaccines are the usual approach, complemented by drugs that slow viral replication.

The response to a superflu? Hunker down and try to avoid infection until the disease passes through your environment or the smart guys come up with a specific vaccine for that bug.
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Old 10-17-2007, 08:21 PM   #20
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Influenza is a viral disease, so antibiotics aren't useful against it (though they can sometimes be useful if there are accompanying opportunistic bacterial infections).
Not entirely correct, but it may be semantics. Antivirals like amantidine and oseltamivir do have some beneficial effect for flu, mostly shortening the course and severity of symptoms, occasionally for prevention in an unvaccinated population.

Usage wise, most people use the term antibiotic to mean anti-bacterial. But strictly speaking, there are antiviral "antibiotics" which have found an important (if limited) place in care these days. Ask anyone with HIV.

Of course, you have folks requesting "antibiotics" for the common cold. No deal - none are effective and the risks outweigh the benefits. But the resistant staph sure love it.
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