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Important Information Regarding Staph Infections
Cold and flu season is upon us, and there is also currently a great deal of media attention involving Staph infections particularly the MRSA strain. MRSA is Staphylococcus Aureus that is resistant to Methicillin. In addition to Methicillin resistance, resistance is emerging to other commonly used antibiotics such as Erythromycin, Clindamycin, Tetracycline, Ciprofloxin, and Mupirocin. Rarely, there is resistance to Sulfamethoxazole/Trimethoprim.
Since the 1970s MRSA has been an increasingly important cause of healthcare-associated infections. In the 1990s, MRSA emerged as a cause of infection in the community. MRSA is often first detected as clusters of abscesses or conditions that mimic "spider bites." While 77% of MRSA infections are skin infections, some MRSA infections are related to traumatic wounds (10%), urinary tract infections (4%), Sinusitis (4%), Bacteremia (3%), and Pneumonia (2%). Although physicians may begin treatment earlier, a final MRSA diagnosis is confirmed through a culture requiring 48 to 72 hours.
Factors that facilitate transmission include crowded environments, frequent skin-to-skin contact, compromised skin, contaminated surfaces, shared items, and poor hygiene.
Persons with skin infections should keep wounds covered, wash hands frequently (always after touching infected skin or changing dressings), dispose of used bandages in trash, and avoid sharing personal items. Individuals with skin infections should avoid swimming pools, hot tubs, and saunas until the infection is resolved.
The best defense to an infection is good hygiene. Uninfected persons can minimize risk of infection by keeping cuts and scrapes clean and covered, avoiding contact with other persons' infected skin, washing hands frequently, and avoiding sharing personal items. Do not share food, drink, clothes, towels, soap, combs, brushes, and other personal care items. Dry using a clean, dry towel and do not share towels. Students who participate in intramurals or fitness training should wash towels, uniforms, scrimmage shirts, and any other laundry in hot water and ordinary detergent and dry on the hottest cycle. Use a plastic bag or impervious container for transporting sporting goods and laundry home for cleaning.
Only those individuals who are unable to keep infected skin covered with a clean, dry bandage and maintain good personal hygiene should stop participating in classes, work, sports activities, etc. In general, it is not necessary to close facilities to "disinfect" them when MRSA infections occur.
Students are responsible for the cleanliness of their own rooms, suites, or apartments. Baylor University Housekeeping cleans campus restrooms, showers and locker rooms with a germicidal disinfectant. University public areas, academic areas, offices, and all other areas are cleaned with a general purpose cleaner. Dining halls and athletic venues are maintained by other contracted service providers using similar procedures.
If Baylor University students have a MRSA related concern, they should contact Health Services at 254-710-1010. Medical personnel are available during clinic hours, and the Intellicare™ nurse triage service is available at the same number after hours and during weekends and holidays. Information is also available on the Health Services Web site Baylor Health Center and MRSA Texas
Some of the information contained in this document was provided through the Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion at the Centers for Disease Control. Additional facts are available at Centers for Disease Control and Community Acquired MRSA