Important Information Regarding Staph Infections

Nov. 2, 2007

Cold and flu season is upon us, and a great deal of media attention also has been focused on Staph infections, particularly the MRSA strain. MRSA is Staphylococcus Aureus that is resistant to Methicillin and other commonly used antibiotics. 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 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. More complete information can be obtained from the Health Center.

Factors that facilitate transmission include crowded environments, frequent skin-to-skin contact, compromised skin, contaminated surfaces, shared items and poor hygiene.

Preventing transmission:

    • Practice good hygiene
    • Keep wounds covered
    • Wash hands frequently (always after touching infected skin or changing dressings)
    • Dispose of used bandages in trash
    • Avoid sharing personal items
    • Avoid swimming pools, hot tubs and saunas, if infected
    • Avoid contact with other persons' infected skin
    • Do not share food, drink, clothes, towels, soap, combs, brushes and other personal care items
    • Follow cleaning procedures advised by Health Services for clothing and personal items, if participating in Intramurals and Fitness training
    • Maintain a clean living environment

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 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 at http://www.baylor.edu/health_center and http://www.mrsaTexas.org.

Some of the information contained in this document was provided through the Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion in the Centers for Disease Control. Additional facts are available at http://www.emergency.cdc.gov/coca/callinfo.asp and http://www.cdc.gov/mrsa.

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