MRSA survivors to share experience at World MRSA Day kickoff event

No one needs to explain to the people who have experienced it the danger posed by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, the antibiotic-defying bacterium commonly known as MRSA.

In 2005, about 94,360 people developed serious MRSA infections, most of which occurred in hospitals and in other health-care settings, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nearly 19,000 patients died from MRSA.

A number of MRSA survivors and their families and friends will be on hand to share their experiences with MRSA at the second annual World MRSA Day kickoff event at Loyola University Chicago. The event, held in conjunction with World MRSA Awareness Month in October, will take place from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Friday, Oct. 1, in the Simpson Room at Loyola University Chicago’s Lake Shore Campus, 1032 West Sheridan Road, Chicago.

“We have a fantastic event planned this year with organizations, students, health officials, infectious disease specialists, legislators and MRSA infection survivors and family members along with the community coming together from across the country to raise awareness for MRSA,” said Jeanine Thomas, a MRSA infection survivor and founder of World MRSA Day and MRSA Survivors Network.

Fortunately, the rate of infections with hospital-acquired MRSA in the U.S. has declined 28 percent in recent years, according to a recent study by the CDC, which surveyed hospitals in nine metropolitan areas between 2005 and 2008. The decline is attributed to beefed-up screenings and prevention efforts taken by medical centers.

Loyola was among the first hospitals in the nation to initiate several aggressive strategies to detect and reduce MRSA infection. Active screening and surveillance have been used successfully in the neonatal unit and in the intensive care unit. The testing involves DNA analysis of a nasal swab sample at the time of admission. Results are returned within two hours. The decision to move to universal hospital screening for all inpatients grew out of the significant reduction in infection seen in these two areas.

However, the number of community-associated cases of MRSA infection is rising in the United States, said Dr. Jorge Parada, director of the infection control program at Loyola University Health System. Currently, between 5 to 10 percent of people are infected, and it is not known when that number will plateau.

“If we were dealing with something that virtually nobody had, then it wouldn’t be a big deal,” said Parada, who will give a slide presentation and perform a MRSA screening demonstration at the kickoff event. “The problem with the MRSA epidemic in the community is you don’t know when you’re going to touch something that somebody with MRSA touched.”

Source : Loyola University Chicago

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