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mrsa treatment
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, better known as MRSA, is a staph bacterial infection that is resistant to most antibiotics, making it difficult to cure. The Food and Drug Administration has just approved a new MRSA treatment known as oritavancin.

MRSA is best known as the infection spread through hospitals, but is also commonly spread through communities, schools, prisons or other crowded areas. Since it is spread through skin-to-skin contact, the infection is spread in areas with crowding and sanitation deficiencies.

While developing countries may lack the medical records and diagnostic technology to confirm MRSA cases, the usual envirnoment in hospitals and crowded areas point to them as areas where MRSA can commonly spread. Surprisingly, the infection is also very common among hospitals in developing countries as well, making it a disease dangerous around the globe. While scientists are developing a way to treat people once infected, the simplest way of preventing it is simple sanitary solutions such as hand washing.

Once MRSA is in the body, it can cause infections of the valves of the heart or large abscesses. While many diseases need a cut or break in the skin to transfer, it has been recently discovered that MRSA just needs skin on skin. Although it is transferred easily and begins as a simple skin infection, in some cases it can lead to death.

The beauty of oritavancin as a MRSA treatment is that it is able to remain in the body for long periods of time, which eliminates the need to take antibiotics on a daily basis for up to a few weeks. This way, patients can lessen their time getting treated in the hospital and take away the risk of skipping antibiotic treatments.

In a study done to test the drug, researchers held a trial with 475 patients given one dose of oritavancin and 479 patients with one of the classic antibiotic vancomycin twice a day for 7-10 days. The results showed that the single dose of oritavancin worked just as well as the multiple doses of vancomycin.

The FDA has flagged the investigational drug as a “priority review,” meaning the regulatory agency must consider its application within six months. According to the Medicines Company website, the FDA’s action date for the drug is Aug. 6, 2014.

-Courtney Prentice

Sources: CNN, CBS News, NPR, Regional Health Forum
Photo: Sure Wash

MRSA
On October 11th, a third player on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers football team was diagnosed with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, a deadly bacterial infection known as MRSA or staph. According to Buddy Creech, Assistant Professor of Pediatric Medicine at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, many people carry MRSA on their skin. It is easier for football players to contract it because of the skin to skin contact and open wounds endured by tackles and hits. It is also common to contract it in crowded environments, such as hospitals.

Two out of every one hundred people carry MRSA.  The bacteria lives on people’s skin and the inside of their noses.  People who have healthy immune systems can fight off the infection with the use of specific antibiotics given out at hospitals. However, for those with weak immune systems, this infection could lead to boils, toxic shock syndrome, septic problems, heart valve problems and even death.

The most important thing when dealing with this bacteria is to sterilize everything during the treatment process. It is not unusual for people staying in hospitals to contract MRSA if the equipment they are surrounded by were not properly sanitized.

The MRSA outbreak in the NFL is a problem for global health. If it is a problem in the U.S., there is no telling how much a concern it could become in developing countries.  If this outbreak were to occur in a developing country, it is unlikely that they would have the sterilization equipment necessary to prevent it from spreading. The treatment also requires very specific antibiotics that not many countries have quick access to.

MRSA has already begun to grow as a global epidemic. In Asia, the prevalence of MRSA has grown from 17 percent in 1986 to 40 percent in 2000. In Africa, the presence of MRSA has ranged from 5 percent to 45 percent. MRSA has also been found in Europe, Australia and South America.

– Olivia Hadreas

Sources: UT Southwestern, CDC, Medical News Today, ABC News
Photo: ESPN