Originally published June 9 2012
Boost your defenses against flesh-eating bacteria
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) If you've been following our site and the news in general recently, you're aware of an outbreak of MRSA - methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus - cases involving antibiotic-resistant, flesh-eating bacteria.
Three cases of necrotizing fasciitis, as it is called, stand out in particular:
Lana Kuykendall, a 36-year-old mother of twins, was admitted to Greenville Memorial Hospital in South Carolina May 11, just days after giving birth, complaining of a sore spot on one of her legs. Soon after, she was diagnosed with the flesh-eating condition.
Another involves 24-year-old Georgia student Aimee Copeland, who has also had several operations and remains in critical condition herself in Doctors Hospital of Augusta. Doctors believe she may have contracted the fasciitis after sustaining a very large cut in her leg in a zip-line accident and falling into the Little Tallapoosa River in Georgia on May 1. They say her infection was likely caused by Aeromonos hydrophila bacteria, which are found in fresh or brackish water, and could have entered her body through the wound
The third case also involves a Georgia resident. Bobby Vaughn, 32, has been reported as being in good condition, though his initial infection "went from the size of a little peanut to a grapefruit fast," he told a local TV station. He's had at least five surgeries.
What's the enemy's strength?As the cases pile up, scores of Americans are asking a couple of important questions, such as, why are these cases cropping up now, and - perhaps more vitally - what can be done to prevent a flesh-eating, antibiotic-resistant bacteria from invading their bodies?
For starters, it's important to know what we're up against.
According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, there are about 10,000 to 15,000 necrotizing fasciitis infections each year in the U.S., with 2,000 to 3,000 deaths. And often, doctors say, it's initially difficult to diagnose, which raises the mortality rate.
While MRSA is very common in many U.S. hospitals, researchers and scientists say it can also be spread in the public, such as on buses and trains. "Though people can avoid direct contact with a sneeze or cough, Professor Thomas from the University of York highlights the possibility of becoming infected from touching surfaces. In this way, every day settings and public surfaces act as viable means to contract an infection," said a report in the online journal MRSA Topic.
Stop the exposure and spreadThe most problematic aspect of necrotizing fasciitis is that it has become increasingly resistant to traditional antibiotic therapy.
So how do we prevent its spread? What can be done to keep the public safe, especially anyone who has to be admitted to a hospital?
For one, some states are now mandating that all patients who are admitted to hospitals be screened immediately for MRSA and, if they are found to be carriers, then they are decontaminated and isolated. "The bulk of scientific evidence says that screening, combined with some form of intervention to reduce subsequent transmission, does have the effect of reducing MRSA infection rate in hospitals," writes Cale Street for MRSA Topic.
The spread of the MRSA superbug, which is essentially a staph infection, can also be accomplished by preventing exposure and practicing some basic hygiene. According to multiple sources, washing your hands, especially with an alcohol-based solution, is effective; making sure all wounds are covered with proper bandages will reduce exposure; and refraining from touching other peoples' bandages and wounds (without gloves for sure) will all help reduce exposure to, and the spread of, this potentially deadly disease.
Other practical things such as never sharing personal care items like a razor, drying towels in a dryer rather than letting them air-dry, wiping down gym equipment you may use with an antibacterial wipe or spray and the like will help reduce the likelihood of you coming in contact with the disease or spreading it if you happen to be carrying it.
The goal is to take the steps necessary to decolonize the bacteria. Otherwise, it will thrive and spread, say experts.
Sources for this article include:
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