There is no doubt that many people are anxious to find out more information about MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus). Everyday when I turn on my computer I take a look at the search engine terms used to access my blog. It provides an interesting insight into the state of mind surrounding the whole debate on MRSA.
As you may already know from the blog, my name is Steph. When I first contracted an MRSA infection a few years ago, friends and family took pleasure in calling me ‘Staph’ because medics often refer to MRSA as a Staph infection. It always makes me laugh when I see that someone has typed in the keywords “Steph infections” or “superbug Steph” instead of Staph when searching the web for information on MRSA. There are plenty of things I’d like to be named after but a superbug is not one of them!
Another feature I come across with search engine terms is people looking for the source of their MRSA infection. The other day someone keyed in “MRSA infection caught at amusement park” and it started me thinking about why people have become so obsessed with finding out ‘how’ and ‘where’ they might have caught MRSA. I blame the litigious society we live in today. My MRSA was a hospital acquired infection (HCAI) which developed following surgery but the source of the infection has never been an issue for me. It’s a fact of life that MRSA is now widespread in Irish hospitals – the statistics for MRSA blood stream infections speak for the themselves – and so I think it’s important that the focus of attention is put on stopping the spread of infection. All hospitals have strict infection control protocols in place and doctors have been asked to prescribe less antibiotics as this is contributing to the spread of resistant bacteria. MRSA is also in the community at large. The bacteria can live on the skin and is found in the nose of about one-third of healthy people without causing them any problems – this is known as ‘colonisation’ – but healthy people are at low risk of becoming infected. It is hospital patients who are most at risk as they are more susceptible to the picking up infections. It really makes no sense to panic about possible sources of contamination. It’s up to all of us to play our part to stop the spread of MRSA infection. Good hygiene with regular hand washing is your best defence.