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Justin Mandel
Justin Mandel, Acupuncture Specialist Dipl.OM.L.Ac
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 135
Experience:  Trained in Western Medicine, Board Certifed Oriental Medicine, seeing patients for 10+years
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my son as been told that he is a staph carrier. what is this

Resolved Question:

he has been treated with reacurring staph. infections. that just start with out there being any injury. the doctor him that he could die if surgeryis not done.
Submitted: 9 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  Justin Mandel replied 9 years ago.
Hi Karen,

"Methicilllin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection is caused by staphylococcus aureus bacteria — often called "staph." Decades ago, a strain of staph emerged in hospitals that was resistant to the broad-spectrum antibiotics commonly used to treat it. Dubbed methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), it was one of the first germs to outwit all but the most powerful drugs.

Staph bacteria are normally found on the skin or in the nose of about one-third of the population. If you have staph on your skin or in your nose but aren't sick, you are said to be "colonized" but not infected with MRSA. Healthy people can be colonized with MRSA and have no ill effects, however, they can pass the germ to others.

Staph bacteria are generally harmless unless they enter the body through a cut or other wound, and even then they often cause only minor skin problems in healthy people. But in older adults and people who are ill or have weakened immune systems, ordinary staph infections can cause serious illness called methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA.

In the 1990s, a type of MRSA began showing up in the wider community. Today, that form of staph, known as community-associated MRSA, or CA-MRSA, is responsible for many serious skin and soft tissue infections and for a serious form of pneumonia. When not treated properly, MRSA infection can be fatal."

"Risk factors: Because hospital and community strains of MRSA generally occur in different settings, the risk factors for the two strains differ.

Risk factors for hospital-acquired (HA) MRSA include:

  • A current or recent hospitalization. MRSA remains a concern in hospitals, where it can attack those most vulnerable — older adults and people with weakened immune systems, burns, surgical wounds or serious underlying health problems.
  • Residing in a long-term care facility. MRSA is far more prevalent in these facilities than it is in hospitals. Carriers of MRSA have the ability to spread it, even if they're not sick themselves.
  • Invasive devices. People who are on dialysis, are catheterized, or have feeding tubes or other invasive devices are at higher risk.
  • Recent antibiotic use. Treatment with fluoroquinolones (ciprofloxacin, ofloxacin or levofloxacin) or cephalosporin antibiotics can increase the risk of HA-MRSA.

These are the main risk factors for community-acquired (CA) MRSA:

  • Young age. CA-MRSA can be particularly dangerous in children. Often entering the body through a cut or scrape, MRSA can quickly cause a wide spread infection. Children may be susceptible because their immune systems aren't fully developed or they don't yet have antibodies to common germs. Children and young adults are also much more likely to develop dangerous forms of pneumonia than older people are.
  • Participating in contact sports. CA-MRSA has crept into both amateur and professional sports teams. The bacteria spread easily through cuts and abrasions and skin-to-skin contact.
  • Sharing towels or athletic equipment. Although few outbreaks have been reported in public gyms, CA-MRSA has spread among athletes sharing razors, towels, uniforms or equipment.
  • Having a weakened immune system. People with weakened immune systems, including those living with HIV/AIDS, are more likely to have severe CA-MRSA infections.
  • Living in crowded or unsanitary conditions. Outbreaks of CA-MRSA have occurred in military training camps and in American and European prisons.
  • Association with health care workers. People who are in close contact with health care workers are at increased risk of serious staph infections."
"Treatment: Both hospital and community associated strains of MRSA still respond to certain medications. In hospitals and care facilities, doctors generally rely on the antibiotic vancomycin to treat resistant germs. CA-MRSA may be treated with vancomycin or other antibiotics that have proved effective against particular strains. Although vancomycin saves lives, it may grow resistant as well; some hospitals are already seeing outbreaks of vancomycin-resistant MRSA. To help reduce that threat, doctors may drain an abscess caused by MRSA rather than treat the infection with drugs."

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