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Chapter 12. Avoiding Resistant Pathogens > Precautions Can Be Taken with MRSA

Precautions Can Be Taken with MRSA

MRSA emerged in the 1960s as a cause of healthcare-associated infections (HA-MRSA). Thirty years later, a different form of MRSA appeared in the community (CA-MRSA), generally among children and young adults. The organism invades wounds and even hair follicles. There, it establishes abscesses, which are often treated successfully by surgical drainage. Skin and soft-tissue infections are by far the most common consequences of CA-MRSA. Severe cases, such as deep-tissue infections and pneumonia, require antibiotic treatment.

Because MRSA is spread by contact, avoiding the pathogen is largely a matter of hygiene, as discussed in previous chapters. (Another example is given in Box 12-4.) Antiseptics may be useful when applied to skin abrasions as prophylaxis. Tests with liquid cultures of MRSA indicate that a mixture of benzethonium chloride with essential oils is more bactericidal than neomycin/polymyxin B or polymyxin B/gramicidin combinations.257 Keep bacterial numbers down by cleaning abscesses, prevent spread by covering sores, discard used bandages carefully, wash hands frequently, use alcohol-based hand lotions, and avoid sharing potentially contaminated items (towels, bedding, washcloths, bar soap, razors, clothing, and athletic equipment). Much of this advice is supported by studies of disease outbreaks in prisons. For example, frequent showering and hand washing correlate with reduced risk of infection.


  

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