Eye on Superbugs Part 1: MRSA


Written by: Selective Micro Technologies 

In this new series, Eye on Superbugs, we will be showcasing major bacteria (or bugs) that have been associated with illness and death within the United States. The bugs that will be showcased are the ones that can be killed by pure chlorine dioxide (pure ClO2), when used as a disinfectant.

The discovery and invention of antibiotics yields new and improved methods of healthcare. Previously, doctors prescribed antibiotics for virtually any illness. As a matter of fact, most still do, though the trend is changing. Such over-prescribing has aided in causing the disease causing pathogens that were once susceptible to these drugs a way to evolve and become immune. Bugs have gotten used to certain antibiotics and figured out how to fight the drug off. In turn, this has caused the development of strains of bugs that are now highly resistant to antibiotics. The evolution of superbugs is now seriously dangerous and life-threatening. It is extremely important to educate oneself about these superbugs for that reason alone.

“Infections with these germs are very difficult to treat, and can be deadly—one report cites they can contribute to death in up to 50% of patients who become infected.”—CDC

MRSA: What is it?

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA is known as the original superbug. Most everyone carries some form of Staph in or on their bodies, but only certain strains of Staph aureus have developed a resistance to antibiotics. These strains are causing major infections, illness, and death among the many people who have contracted this bacterium. 

People have been hospitalized and even had limbs removed to rid their bodies of these powerful infections caused by MRSA. When hospitalized, these patients are often put in isolation so that staff can take added precautions while taking care of them to prevent the spread of this infection to other patients. Typically, MRSA presents as a skin infection of some sort. It may start out as a small red area, similar to what a spider bite may look like. Other times it festers within open wounds or surgical incisions. If you think you might have an infection, don’t hesitate to see a doctor to have the site tested for potential MRSA.

Treating this infection will necessitate use of stronger antibiotics such as Vancomycin, to which MRSA is susceptible, and additional precautions in the environment of the patient to prevent spreading and reinfection.                

Fast facts on MRSA from the CDC:

1. MRSA infections AKA Staph infections are typically skin infections.

2. 1 in 3 people carry Staph but without illness while 2 in 100 carry MRSA.

3. Skin infection can start out looking like an infected spider bite. (Refer to picture)

4. Contracted through direct contact or shared personal items such as a razor.

5. Treatment is typically an antibiotic such as Vancomycin or similar antibiotic to which the bug is not resistant.