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MRSA on the Rise

October 24th, 2007 by flanews

At least six school districts in Florida are sending warning letters to parents about the highly infectious and drug resistant MRSA. Hospitals throughout the state are also seeing an increase in cases of the so-called superbug staph infection. But as Chris Casquejo tells us, the Florida Department of Education and the Health Department say there is no statewide emergency.

Hear it here: MRSA on the Rise

From kids who ride school buses to athletes that share equipment, MRSA is a common bacteria thats causing big problems. There are at least five confirmed cases. More are suspected. The staph infection is spread by skin-to-skin contact or by touching contaminated surfaces.

It can be very serious if you actually inhale the organism that gets into your lungs directly, said Dr. John Mahoney, a pathologist at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital.

Getting an exact handle on the number of cases is difficult. The state is required to report MRSA outbreaks, but not individual cases.

Because MRSA is not a reportable infection here in Florida, the Department of Education and Health Department arent planning any statewide warnings. Instead, theyre focusing on hygiene.

Martha DeCastro with the Florida Hospital Association is an infection specialist nurse. She says certain strains of the bacteria have become more resistant to anti-biotics.

Years ago, it was thought to be a hospital acquired organism in patients who were extremely sick and debilitated, chronically ill,” DeCastro said.

The Health Department says despite the increase, no outbreak levels exist in Florida. The department says you can keep it that way.

Keep your cuts clean,” said Kevin Cate with the Florida Department of Health. “Stay away from bandages of others. As well as keep your hands clean as possible, whether youre washing or sanitizing.

Cuts and sores that linger could be a warning sign.

Posted in Health, State News | 2 Comments »

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