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Drug-resistant germ spreading outside U.S. hospitals (MRSA can become fatal)
Yahoo News ^ | 7/15/04 | Maggie Fox

Posted on 07/14/2004 3:51:04 PM PDT by Libloather

Drug-resistant germ spreading outside U.S. hospitals
Thursday July 15, 1:46 AM
By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Correspondent

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A drug-resistant "superbug" found in hospitals has a close cousin that is affecting athletes, prisoners and small children in growing numbers across the United States, disease experts said on Wednesday.

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA can become fatal if not treated with the right antibiotics, said Dr. Daniel Jernigan of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"MRSA is showing up in places it had never been seen before -- as a predominant cause of skin disease among children in some regions of the country, as clusters of abscesses among sports participants, as the most common cause of skin infections among inmates in some jails and among military recruits and rarely, as a severe and sometimes fatal lung or bloodstream infection in previously healthy people," Jernigan told reporters.

Most commonly it takes the form of an abscess or boil, and doctors routinely try to treat it with penicillin-based antibiotics, Jernigan said. These will not work against MRSA.

In hospitals, MRSA resists almost everything but an intravenous antibiotic called vancomycin. But so-called community-acquired MRSA can be treated with a range of antibiotics including doxycycline and cotrimoxazole, sold under the brand name Bactrim.

However, 70 percent of the time doctors use ineffective drugs to treat it, Jernigan said. And the community-acquired strain has some of its own nasty tricks.

"Unlike the hospital strains, the community strains were capable of producing a toxin called Panton-Valentine Leukocidin or PVL," he said.

"PVL is a necrotizing cytotoxin, which means it can cause destruction of cells in the skin leading to pus formation but also can cause a serious and often fatal form of pneumonia."

LARGE ABSCESSES

This may be why MRSA infections cause large abscesses and are often first mistaken as spider bites, he said.

It is also easily passed around. "There is something about the community strain of MRSA that, when given the right circumstances and group characteristics, makes for very efficient transmission of the bacteria," Jernigan said.

He said the CDC is trying to persuade doctors to grow cultures from skin infections before treating patients, so they know which drugs to use. Improper use of antibiotics may be helping drive the evolution of drug-resistant bacteria, health experts say.

Jernigan said studies have shown MRSA makes up a significant number of all diagnosed staph infections, ranging from 9 percent in Maryland, to 20 percent in Georgia and 30 percent in Hawaii.

The numbers are rising, Jernigan said. "We also found that rates of community-associated MRSA infections were disproportionately higher among children," he said.

In 2003, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment investigated an outbreak at a fencing club. Outbreaks were reported among high school and college football players and wrestlers in Pennsylvania, Indiana and California.

And between 1997 and 1999 four small children in North Dakota and Minnesota died from MRSA.

Jernigan said five factors were associated with outbreaks of the infection -- crowding, skin contact, abrasions or cuts in the skin, sharing contaminated equipment or towels and a lack of hygiene.

"From investigations of outbreaks at boot camp and in jails, it is clear that MRSA is being first brought into these settings by individuals that are carrying the bacteria in their nose without having any disease," Jernigan said.

"Once introduced, the bacteria can efficiently spread to others, and is then amplified in that setting."


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: become; can; drug; fatal; germ; health; hospitals; mrsa; outside; resistant; spreading; superbug; us
Just when you thought it was safe enough to step outside...
1 posted on 07/14/2004 3:51:07 PM PDT by Libloather
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To: Libloather
"PVL is a necrotizing cytotoxin, which means it can cause destruction of cells in the skin leading to pus formation but also can cause a serious and often fatal form of pneumonia."

Yikes.

2 posted on 07/14/2004 3:53:22 PM PDT by mewzilla
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To: Libloather
Just when you thought it was safe enough to step outside...

Got no where to run to, baby, no where to hide...

3 posted on 07/14/2004 3:56:06 PM PDT by DumpsterDiver
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To: Libloather
Great!

Somethin' else I have to worry about killin' me!

4 posted on 07/14/2004 4:02:16 PM PDT by MamaTexan (Logic and reason are your FRiends! (unless you're a Democrat :-p)
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To: Libloather
The veterinary community has been dealing with drug resistant bacteria for quite a while. There is a Pseudomanas spp. that is drug resistant and uses phenol as a substrate. MRSA can cross into animals also.
5 posted on 07/14/2004 4:31:28 PM PDT by vetvetdoug (In memory of S/Sgt. Segundo "Dean" Baldanado, Albuquerque, NM-KIA Bien Hoa AFB, RVN 1965)
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To: vetvetdoug
Could this all have started with the antibiotics all feed animals are pumped up with???

My doctor warned me this would all happen back in 1992. He was right.

6 posted on 07/14/2004 4:45:40 PM PDT by ar15girl
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To: Libloather

My sister is a sherriff's deputy for Broward county FL, She works in the jail, and she told me they have a problem with MRSA. That's the first I had heard of the ailment, I wonder why you don't see this on the evening news report?


7 posted on 07/14/2004 4:54:07 PM PDT by DirtyHarryY2K (BUSH 2004!)
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To: ar15girl
Could this all have started with the antibiotics all feed animals are pumped up with???

Free market profits are more important.

8 posted on 07/14/2004 5:06:05 PM PDT by A. Pole (Capt. Lionel Mandrake: "Condition Red, sir, yes, jolly good idea. That keeps the men on their toes.")
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To: Libloather

VRSA (Vancomycin resistant Staph. aureus) is also showing up. 2 new drugs quinupristin and dalfopristin take care of it.


9 posted on 07/14/2004 5:10:25 PM PDT by Coroner
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To: Libloather

This will be good material for the Art Bell news show.


10 posted on 07/14/2004 5:11:59 PM PDT by RightWhale (Withdraw from the 1967 UN Outer Space Treaty and establish property rights)
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To: ar15girl
My opinion is that the mass indiscriminate and ignorant use of antibiotics by lay cattle owners creates the problem of antibiotic resistant bacteria. Antibiotics for cattle and food animals are sold over the counter in staggering amounts with no intelligent supervision and use. The food animals that are rejected for human consumption because of antibiotic residue can be used in dog and cat food. Veterinarians deal with multiple resistance bacterial strains in dogs and cats that have never been treated with antibiotics; one has to wonder where these strains popped up..and it is not the bacteria associated with humans.

Go to the Cattle cooperatives or catalog dealers like Jeffers, you can buy gentocin, streptomycin, tetracyclines, penicillins, and just about any antibiotic the veterinary community uses in animals. When lay people use the antibiotics, they use them in inappropriate dosages and intervals and actually raise and select for antibiotic resistant organisms.

The low level feeding of antibiotics fed to food animals also contributes to the selection of antibiotic resistant strains and lethal variants to be selected. The large agri-conglomerates have the lobby and will not be controlled till more intelligent antibiotic use is mandated after the genie has been vomited from the bottle.

11 posted on 07/14/2004 6:03:57 PM PDT by vetvetdoug (In memory of S/Sgt. Segundo "Dean" Baldanado, Albuquerque, NM-KIA Bien Hoa AFB, RVN 1965)
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To: Libloather

One of my granddaughter's just had this. The doctor's think she was bit by a mosquito. Whatever bit her left a small welp with a pus-head. It looked like a fireant bite. The break in the skin allegedly caused the staph infection. Within two hours the area surrounding the small bite began to turn red and swell. The next day she began running a very low fever and was limping. By day three she was running a fever between 104-105 F and could not walk on that leg. She was hospitalized for 6 days. She was on 2 antibiotics, via IV. One every 6 hours and the other every 8 hours. There were 5 other children with the same thing when she checked in. When she left, another child had been admitted. The resident doctor told me that in the 3 weeks she had been at the hospital she had seen at least 35 cases of this. My granddaughter had gotten out of the swimming pool at my house, walked a few feet to get her towel, and went inside. The biten area immediately hurt. (There were a total of 6 grandchildren swimming.) Since then I have talked to two colleagues with children who have had similar experiences. One of those children has been hospitalized twice in the last 6 months. This stuff is nasty and wierd.


12 posted on 07/14/2004 6:52:58 PM PDT by exhaustedmomma (Mary Landrieu challenged any Sen/Cong. to prove F-911 wrong this morning on FOX. GOP- get busy.)
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To: Libloather

and to make matters worse, the germ was seen driving an SUV.


13 posted on 07/14/2004 6:54:57 PM PDT by isom35
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To: vetvetdoug

Another cause for the rise in antibiotic resistant bacteria is the indiscriminate prescribing of antibiotics to patients who cannot benefit from them. Antibiotics do not help with viral infections.

I saw a film (in microbiology class) in 1986 about a super Staph that was resistant to just about every antibiotic available at the time. The only drug effective against it was a new antibiotic that cost $60/dose. Every time we come up with new antibiotics, the bacteria come up with resistance. They pass around the resistance in genetic elements called plasmids; they can even pass plasmids to other species of bacteria. This is a war we (probably) cannot win.


14 posted on 07/14/2004 8:38:53 PM PDT by exDemMom (Think like a liberal? Oxymoron!)
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To: Libloather

Staph is a common bacteria that everyone has on their skin, in their nasal passages etc.
all bacteria exchange genes with each other when they meet, as in your body, so its a simple thing for bacteria to exchange vanco resistance genes and spread thru the community at large. Doctors contribute to the problem by prescribing unnecessary antibiotics for colds and flu, and by prescribing powerful antibiotics when something tamer would do.


15 posted on 07/14/2004 9:00:32 PM PDT by I_saw_the_light (Faster and higher....build the wall.)
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To: ar15girl
"Could this all have started with the antibiotics all feed animals are pumped up with???"

more likely from the unrelenting demand for antibiotics from patients that just have to have a drug RX in hand to make them feel better...

that, and the disreguard people in general have in taking and finishing their entire prescription of antibiotics when prescribed.......

many people just stop taking them when they feel better, which is misguided...

16 posted on 07/14/2004 10:16:42 PM PDT by cherry
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To: exhaustedmomma
I could be wrong, but I believe most of us carry these germs on our skin.....

its when there is an OPPORTUNITY for the germ to settle in that it causes infection...

17 posted on 07/14/2004 10:19:43 PM PDT by cherry
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To: cherry
That's what the doctors said. The break in the skin by the insect bite did it. What I find weird is this child (and the others in the pool that day too)has been biten by mosquitoes and ants before. And the number of kids in with the same stuff when she was in. It is truly a mean, nasty germ that is spreading. It is amazing how fast it hit, and progressed. I can't emphasize enough about the speed this took. We didn't know what the heck was going on. We honestly thought it was a spider bite, even though it looked nothing like a spider bite. This stuff is nasty and weird.
18 posted on 07/14/2004 10:30:56 PM PDT by exhaustedmomma (Mary Landrieu challenged any Sen/Cong. to prove F-911 wrong this morning on FOX. GOP- get busy.)
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To: vetvetdoug
". When lay people use the antibiotics"

That arguement isn't limited to lay people. It extends to licensed pros too. It is vets that handle and advise farmers on feed additives. You don't need much skill to read and understand the drugs applicability. Just as in the med field, all that taking away the freedom to buy and use these drugs will do is fatten the bank accounts of vets.

19 posted on 07/14/2004 10:38:06 PM PDT by spunkets
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To: cherry
" most of us carry these germs on our skin..."

In general and keeping it simple...Normally pathogenic strains are a minority population. They can't compete with the nonpathogenic strains that emit toxins to restrict their activity. Amongst the normally present pathogens, there is another minority(for similar reasons), that has drug resistant capacity. That last group is the one that ends up predominant if the time of med application is cut short.

In these cases here folks are being exposed to large populations of the normal minority bugs. It's the exposure to large numbers, that are overwhelming to normal conditions that allows their fast takeover and spread. Pathogenic staph normally inhabits noses and infected sores, warm potato salad and the like also(from hands and noses). If those noses and sores are really laiden with staph, it spreads to other surfaces and people by sheer numbers. If it's predominantly the drug resistant bug, it spreads even faster.

20 posted on 07/14/2004 10:58:18 PM PDT by spunkets
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To: exhaustedmomma
"in the pool that day"

THere are a number of nasty bugs that can exist in water if it's not chlorinated right. If the water's chlorinated right, it should not smell like chlorine. If it does the chlorine's all gone and that's chloramines you're smelling. If the water's chlorinated right and on the high side, it will actually clear up the infections.

21 posted on 07/14/2004 11:04:11 PM PDT by spunkets
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To: spunkets

My husband is a chemist who specializes in water treatment. Honestly, I do not believe it was the pool water. Plus, there were the other kids who also had mosquito bites. I understand she could have picked her nose, etc., scratched and all. I guess my point is their point... this stuff is nasty. It is spreading rapidly. It is weird. And, BTW, this child has rarely been on antibiotics.


22 posted on 07/14/2004 11:09:24 PM PDT by exhaustedmomma (Mary Landrieu challenged any Sen/Cong. to prove F-911 wrong this morning on FOX. GOP- get busy.)
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To: exhaustedmomma

I missed post 12, that makes it clearer. TX? Were these the asian tiger skeeters?


23 posted on 07/14/2004 11:23:55 PM PDT by spunkets
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To: spunkets
it is vets that advise that advise and handle farmers on feed additives

I must respectfully disagree. It is the co-ops and agri-sales that advise the farmers on use of antibiotics the majority of the time. These sales people have little or no knowledge about antibiotics and their proper use and when to use them. It is rare that I see a large animal that has not been first inappropriately treated by the owner with the advice of the co-op or a back yard shade tree mechanic.

24 posted on 07/15/2004 6:29:32 AM PDT by vetvetdoug (In memory of S/Sgt. Segundo "Dean" Baldonado, Albuquerque, NM-KIA Bien Hoa AFB, RVN 1965)
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To: vetvetdoug
"It is the co-ops and agri-sales that advise the farmers on use of antibiotics the majority of the time."

Not up here in America's Dairyland. The salesmen may give their spiel to both vets and farmers, but it's the vets that do the advising to the farmers. The only time farmers treat their own animals is after they've already learned about it from the vet.

25 posted on 07/15/2004 7:41:47 AM PDT by spunkets
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To: spunkets
GULP: Were these the asian tiger skeeters?

I dunno. The doctor's kept stressing break in the skin (the skin being the culprit) from the bite. Do asian tiger skeeters do this... or are you pulling my chain?

Okay, I goggled AT skeeters... WN carriers. All I know is last night they announced WN had been found in Houston. So, would they cause MRSA???? I repeat, the onset of problems was uncanningly rapid!

26 posted on 07/15/2004 1:47:22 PM PDT by exhaustedmomma (Mary Landrieu challenged any Sen/Cong. to prove F-911 wrong this morning on FOX. GOP- get busy.)
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To: Libloather

Didn't I just read a thread around here about a new drug that boosts antibiotic effectiveness pretty dramatically?


27 posted on 07/27/2004 5:27:18 PM PDT by hopespringseternal
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