According to the MAYO Clinic, 1/3 of people are carriers of MRSA, meaning the bacteria has colonized, but has not infected the person. A carrier may pass the bacteria on to others. You can get a simple nose swab test to determine if you are a carrier.
MRSA is primarily spread through physical contact with an affected person, but can also be spread in a community through other contact surfaces. Many get staph infections from being in the hospital, so PLEASE make sure your healthcare providers are washing their hands before examining you! It is not rude to ask, you owe it to yourself and your family.
MRSA is mutating and becoming drug resistant.
This is due to the over and unnecessary use of antibiotics. In humans, antibiotics have been prescribed to patients with colds, flu and other simple bacterial infections that do not respond to antibiotics, and even some viral infections that would otherwise clear up on its on.
In animals antibiotics are also used in cows, pigs and chickens (important to note antibiotic use in animals is BANNED in the UK). These antibiotics run off these farms and find their way into our water. Not to mention, you ingest these antibiotics if you eat meat treated with them. I only buy organic meat – range free chickens and meat from grass-fed cows. Yet another reason I am glad I made the switch.
Even when antibiotics are used correctly, they do not always kill all the germs. The “survivors” then learn how to resist drugs.
60 Minutes also had a segment on MRSA Sunday night. They also mentioned MRSA is becoming resistant to antibiotics because the bacteria is mutating. They are working on a vaccine (which could take years), but because it is mutating, creating a vaccine is very difficult. I am believing in vaccines less and less, again, not sure it is the answer here either. Since it is mutating so quickly, I do not think a vaccine would be very effective (see my post on the flu vaccine).
Then What Do I Do?
See Part 1 for some tips from a nurse. But the keys are: Make sure you wash, wash, wash your hands. Make sure your family is washing their hands. Make sure your healthcare providers wash their hands. The best defense is a good offense – take charge and protect yourself and family.