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MRSA epidemic fuelling antibiotic resistance
Methicillin-resistant Staphyloccocus aureus (MRSA), the antibiotic resistant form of Staphylococcus aureus, is rampant in US healthcare facilities, in the community, in livestock and in the environment, according to Jeanine Thomas, founder the MRSA Survivors Network.
Jeanine is calling for a comprehensive, aggressive approach to reducing infections in healthcare facilities; strict adherence to hand hygiene; the screening of high-risk patients upon admission along with isolation; thoroughly decontaminating the environment, and equipment and implementing a good antibiotic stewardship programme - moves that should be adhered to in every country as this is, after all, a problem for all of us. She writes:
"The ongoing MRSA epidemic is fuelling antibiotic resistance globally as antibiotics are used indiscriminately in humans and in livestock. Antimicrobial resistance is a current and dangerous public health crisis.
Though the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention states that MRSA invasive infection rates are declining in healthcare facilities, the CDC is only tracking invasive MRSA infections and the true number of MRSA infections are being vastly under-reported. Community-acquired MRSA infection rates are not reported or tracked and are increasing according to many experts and published studies.
A USA Today investigation by Peter Eisler in 2013 revealed that the CDC reported 80,500 invasive MRSA cases in 2011, but there were nearly six times as many - 460,000 hospitalisations involving an MRSA diagnosis, according to hospital billing data collected by the US Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality. The data also revealed that in 2011, there were nearly 23,000 deaths from MRSA infections alone.
CA-MRSA infections continue to rise and currently over 50% of all skin infections are caused by MRSA in the US. MRSA continues to be an ongoing epidemic with no reporting or surveillance of CA-MRSA or livestock-acquired MRSA and very incomplete surveillance of healthcare-acquired MRSA infections.
Furthermore, many of the CDC estimates of both CA and HA-MRSA infections are from data they collect from just nine geographic regions (cities or counties) and they extrapolate to the entire US.
MRSA Infections are still not a reportable disease, despite the fact that such infections occur much more frequently than most other diseases that are reportable. We still do not know the true magnitude of the MRSA epidemic in the US.
Data from the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy reveals that the US ranks third globally in the worse MRSA infection rates for industrial countries. The US rate is nearly 25 times greater than in Northern European countries and they have for decades controlled MRSA to low levels by screening patients for MRSA upon entering healthcare facilities. The US VA Health System has successfully reduced MRSA infections by 66% by screening patients since 2007. All US healthcare facilities must screen high risk patients and isolate those who test positive for MRSA.
A comprehensive, aggressive approach is imperative to reducing infections in healthcare facilities; strict adherence to hand hygiene, screening high-risk patients upon admission along with isolation, thoroughly decontaminating the environment and equipment and implementing a good antibiotic stewardship programme.
A study recently published, 'Global trends in antimicrobial use in food animals', revealed that antimicrobial consumption globally in livestock will rise to a shocking 67% between 2010 and 2030 unless measures to reduce the trend are taken. In the US, 70 - 80% of all antibiotics consumed are given to livestock.
People living near Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations - also known as factory farms, are experiencing serious MRSA infections as manure is running off into streams, lakes and aerated onto farm land as fertilizer. The manure contains MRSA and other bacteria along with antibiotics and is seriously polluting the environment and is a major health risk to rural communities. MRSA has been found in grocery store meat and poultry in the US and in European countries."
6th August 2015