MRSA is Now Most Common Skin and Soft Tissue Infection – Change of Policy in Emergency Rooms

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MRSA is Now Most Common Skin and Soft Tissue Infection – Change of Policy in Emergency Rooms

Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), say that “MRSA is the most common cause of skin and soft-tissue infections among patients presenting in emergency rooms across the country.” This has caused a shift in the way they treat skin infections.

Since MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) is resistant to all but one antibiotic used to treat skin conditions, Dr. Gregory J. Moran says "The study points to the rising prevalence of this type of MRSA and the need for clinicians to culture infections and make sure the proper antibiotic is administered to treat MRSA.” Moran is the study's principal investigator and a clinical professor of medicine in the department of emergency medicine and the division of infectious diseases at Olive View–UCLA Medical Center.

This MRSA prevalence is a relatively new phenomenon. Since the 1960s doctors have seen it among patients in the hospital setting. Now the infection has become more common among athletes, and in jails and gyms.

"We noticed more patients showing up in our emergency room with infections that turned out to be community-associated MRSA and wanted to see if this was the case nationwide," said Dr. David Talan, an author of the study and a professor of medicine in the division of infectious diseases and chief of the department of emergency medicine at Olive View–UCLA Medical Center.

Most cases of MRSA are mild and only require the infection to be drained and kept clean, but some cases it may be life threatening. In these life-threatening cases it is important to prescribe the right medication. Talan says “Doctors need to change what they've done for decades, since traditional antibiotics don't work against MRSA. We encourage physicians to reconsider antibiotic choices for skin and soft-tissue infections in areas where MRSA is prevalent in the community."

Researchers tested the antibiotic resistance of the isolated MRSA samples and found that in 57 percent of cases, doctors had prescribed an antibiotic to which the bacteria were resistant.

If you have a spider bite or other lesion that does not heal, the doctors recommend that you seek medical attention. You may have a case of MRSA.

By Dan Wilson

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