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· Old Timer
232 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Like we don't have enough to worry about already???

Last week I had an infected sore I couldn't get under control so I went to my GP. He took a culture for MRSA and it came back positive. :eek: He told me there are only a few meds that will work on this and I just happened to be allergic to one of them. :rolleyes: This is a long read but I feel it's worth your time because....

When people die of lupus, what do they usually die of?
Overwhelming infection & kidney failure are the two most common causes of death in people with lupus.

is a strain of staph that's resistant to the broad-spectrum antibiotics commonly used to treat it.


MRSA infection is caused by Staphylococcus aureus bacteria — often called "staph." MRSA stands for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. It's a strain of staph that's resistant to the broad-spectrum antibiotics commonly used to treat it. MRSA can be fatal. Most MRSA infections occur in hospitals or other health care settings, such as nursing homes and dialysis centers. It's known as health care-associated MRSA, or HA-MRSA. Older adults and people with weakened immune systems are at most risk of HA-MRSA. More recently, another type of MRSA has occurred among otherwise healthy people in the wider community. This form, community-associated MRSA, or CA-MRSA, is responsible for serious skin and soft tissue infections and for a serious form of pneumonia.


Staph skin infections, including MRSA, generally start as small red bumps that resemble pimples, boils or spider bites. These can quickly turn into deep, painful abscesses that require surgical draining. Sometimes the bacteria remain confined to the skin. But they can also penetrate into the body, causing potentially life-threatening infections in bones, joints, surgical wounds, the bloodstream, heart valves and lungs.

Staph infections:

Staph bacteria are normally found on the skin or in the nose of about one-third of the population. If you have staph on your skin or in your
nose but aren't sick, you are said to be "colonized" but not infected. Healthy people can be colonized and have no ill effects. However, they
can pass the germ to others. Staph bacteria are generally harmless unless they enter the body through a cut or other wound, and even then they often cause only minor skin problems in healthy people. However, staph infections can cause serious illness. This most often happens in older adults and people who have weakened immune systems, usually in hospitals and long term care facilities. But in the past several years, serious infections have been occurring in otherwise healthy people in the community, for example athletes who share equipment or personal items.

Antibiotic resistance:

Although the survival tactics of bacteria contribute to antibiotic resistance, humans bear most of the responsibility for the problem. Leading causes of antibiotic resistance include:

* Unnecessary antibiotic use. Like other superbugs, MRSA is the result of decades of excessive and unnecessary antibiotic use. For years, antibiotics have been prescribed for colds, flu and other viral infections that don't respond to these drugs, as well as for simple bacterial infections that normally clear on their own.
* Antibiotics in food and water. Prescription drugs aren't the only source of antibiotics. In the United States, antibiotics can be found in livestock. These antibiotics find their way into municipal water systems when the runoff from feedlots contaminates streams and groundwater.
* Germ mutation. Even when antibiotics are used appropriately, they contribute to the rise of drug-resistant bacteria because they don't destroy every germ they target. Bacteria live on an evolutionary fast track, so germs that survive treatment with one antibiotic soon learn
to resist others. And because bacteria mutate much more quickly than new drugs can be produced, some germs end up resistant to just about
everything. That's why only a handful of drugs are now effective against most forms of staph.

Risk factors:

Because hospital and community strains of MRSA generally occur in different settings, the risk factors for the two strains differ.

Risk factors for community-associated MRSA (CA-MRSA)

* Young age. CA-MRSA can be particularly dangerous in children. Often entering the body through a cut or scrape, MRSA can quickly cause a widespread infection. Children may be susceptible because their immune systems aren't fully developed or they don't yet have antibodies to common germs. Children and young adults are also much more likely to develop dangerous forms of pneumonia, which can result from CA-MRSA, than older people are.
* Participating in contact sports. CA-MRSA has affected sports teams. The bacteria spread easily through cuts and abrasions and skin-to-skin contact.
* Sharing towels or athletic equipment. CA-MRSA has spread among athletes sharing razors, towels, uniforms or equipment.
* Having a weakened immune system. People with weakened immune systems, such as those living with HIV/AIDS, are more likely to have severe CA-MRSA infections.
* Living in crowded or unsanitary conditions. Outbreaks of CA-MRSA have occurred in military training camps and in American and European prisons.
* Association with health care workers. People who are in close contact with health care workers are at increased risk of serious staph infections. In addition to these risk factors, CA-MRSA is also spreading through certain groups of gay men. A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found a new strain of MRSA spreading rapidly among gay men in Boston and San Francisco. For example, gay men in San Francisco were 13 times more likely to be infected than others in the city.

Risk factors for health care-associated MRSA (HA-MRSA)

* A current or recent hospitalization. MRSA remains a concern in hospitals, where it can attack those most vulnerable — older adults and
people with weakened immune systems, burns, surgical wounds or serious underlying health problems. This is particularly true if you have a
hospital stay of more than 14 days. A 2007 report from the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology estimated that 46 out of every 1,000 people hospitalized are infected or colonized with MRSA.
* Living in a long term care facility. MRSA is also prevalent in these facilities. Carriers of MRSA have the ability to spread it, even if they're not sick themselves.
* Invasive devices. People who are on dialysis, are catheterized, or have feeding tubes or other invasive devices are at higher risk.
* Recent antibiotic use. Treatment with fluoroquinolones (ciprofloxacin, ofloxacin or levofloxacin) or cephalosporin antibiotics can increase the risk of HA-MRSA.

When to seek medical advice:

Keep an eye on minor skin problems — pimples, insect bites, cuts and scrapes — especially in children. If wounds become infected, see your doctor.

Signs and symptoms of a wound infection:

* Redness, warmth and tenderness of the wound
* Pus — a yellowish-white fluid that may have a foul smell
* Fever

Ask to have any skin infection tested for MRSA before starting antibiotic therapy. Some drugs that treat ordinary staph aren't effective against MRSA, and their use could lead to serious illness and more resistant bacteria.

Tests and diagnosis:

Doctors diagnose MRSA by checking a tissue sample or nasal secretions for signs of drug-resistant bacteria. The sample is sent to a lab where it's placed in a dish of nutrients that encourage bacterial growth (culture). But because it takes about 48 hours for the bacteria to grow, newer tests that can detect staph DNA in a matter of hours are now becoming more widely available. In the hospital, you may be tested for MRSA if you show signs of infection or if you are transferred into a hospital from another health care setting where MRSA is known to be present. You may also be tested if you have had a previous history of MRSA.

Treatments and drugs:

Both hospital- and community-associated strains of MRSA still respond to certain medications. In hospitals and care facilities, doctors often rely on the antibiotic vancomycin to treat resistant germs. CA-MRSA may be treated with vancomycin or other antibiotics that have proved effective against particular strains. Although vancomycin saves lives, it may become less effective as well. Some hospitals are already seeing strains of MRSA that are less easily killed by vancomycin. In some cases, antibiotics may not be necessary. For example, doctors may drain a superficial abscess caused by MRSA rather than treat the infection with drugs.


Hospitals are fighting back against MRSA infection by using surveillance systems that track bacterial outbreaks and by investigating products such as antibiotic-coated catheters and gloves that release disinfectants. Still, the best way to prevent the spread of germs is for health care workers to wash their hands frequently, to properly disinfect hospital surfaces and to take other precautions, such as wearing gowns and gloves when working with people infected with resistant bacteria.

In the hospital, people who are infected or colonized with MRSA are placed in isolation to prevent the spread of MRSA. Visitors and health care workers caring for people in isolation may be required to wear protective garments and must follow strict hand-washing procedures.

What you can do in the hospital:

Here's what you can do to protect yourself, family members or friends from health care-associated infections.

* Ask all hospital staff to wash their hands or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer before touching you — every time.
* Wash your own hands frequently.
* Make sure that intravenous tubes and catheters are inserted under sterile conditions, for example, the person inserting them wears a gown, gloves and mask and sterilizes your skin first.

What you can do in your community:

Protecting yourself from MRSA in your community — which might be just about anywhere — may seem daunting, but these common-sense precautions can help reduce your risk:

* Wash your hands. Careful hand washing remains your best defense against germs. Scrub hands briskly for at least 15 seconds, then dry them with a disposable towel and use another towel to turn off the faucet. Carry a small bottle of hand sanitizer containing at least 60 percent alcohol for times when you don't have access to soap and water.
* Keep personal items personal. Avoid sharing personal items such as towels, sheets, razors, clothing and athletic equipment. MRSA spreads on contaminated objects as well as through direct contact.
* Keep wounds covered. Keep cuts and abrasions clean and covered with sterile, dry bandages until they heal. The pus from infected sores may contain MRSA, and keeping wounds covered will help keep the bacteria from spreading.
* Shower after athletic games or practices. Shower immediately after each game or practice. Use soap and water. Don't share towels.
* Sit out athletic games or practices if you have a concerning infection. If you have a wound that's draining or appears infected — for example, is red, swollen, warm to the touch or tender — consider sitting out athletic games or practices until the wound has healed.
* Sanitize linens. If you have a cut or sore, wash towels and bed linens in a washing machine set to the "hot" water setting (with added bleach, if possible) and dry them in a hot dryer. Wash gym and athletic clothes after each wearing.
* Get tested. If you have a skin infection that requires treatment, ask your doctor if you should be tested for MRSA. Doctors may prescribe drugs that aren't effective against antibiotic-resistant staph, which delays treatment and creates more resistant germs. Testing specifically for MRSA may get you the specific antibiotic you need to effectively treat your infection.
* Use antibiotics appropriately. When you're prescribed an antibiotic, take all of the doses, even if the infection is getting better. Don't stop until your doctor tells you to stop. Don't share antibiotics with others or save unfinished antibiotics for another time. Inappropriate use of antibiotics, including not taking all of your prescription and overuse, contributes to resistance. If your infection isn't improving after a few days of taking an antibiotic, contact your doctor.


· Registered
1,471 Posts
(((((((Tom))))))) :worried:

Im really sorry you are having to deal with MRSA on top of everything else. I hope they can treat it with the appropriate anti-biotic :worried:

Please let us know how you are doing and if your doc has managed to treat it successfully :hugbetter: I do hope so.

Much love

· Registered
6,939 Posts
Hi Tom,

So sorry to hear that you have to put up with this as well. I do hope that the antibiotics work quickly.

It is a long piece of info but great to have as a reference. I remember being very worried when I had to go and see Dad in hospital last year as his recurring pneumonia was due to MRSA and I didn't quite know how to act or what to do. Thankfully his doctor was very clued up on lupus in general and very kind.

hugs :hug:

· Old Timer
232 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you :grhug:

The antibiotics are working well and the sore is almost healed after only a week. :) I've won this round but some articles say this is more of a threat than HIV. This stuff is already using the higher end of antibiotics and just a matter of time until they become useless. I've been told to wash and sterilize everything (Including my keyboard)! That it can survive a year in any decent bacterial environment, scary stuff.

But who knows, Lupus could be our savior! :eek: Let our rampant antibodies take this stuff out, natures cure, it's purpose for being. :bigsmile: It would be nice if it had a useful purpose. Keep it busy doing something constructive instead of destructive, or at least train it to kill the right things!

· Registered
6,939 Posts
My rampant antibodies do seem to be of some use. I rarely (if ever) catch anything that is going around and even then it would be barely recognisable. The whole family can be coughing and spluttering around me and I just sail through it all despite being on immunosuppressants. Of course, I know that is far from the case for many people. Maybe it's also why I never seem to have much let up in pain, tendons killing me, exhaustion...

Glad to hear you're on the mend. It's a curious disease indeed.


· The Other Illinois Tammy
1,193 Posts
I am sorry you are having to deal with this on top of everything else. And to also be allergic to one of the meds that would help you is even worse. I hope that you feel so much better soon. Keep your thoughts positive and your hopes up as that will help you get through this also, and we are always here for you anytime.

· Registered
1,137 Posts
Hi Tom,

I was just wondering how you were doing, the other day. I am sorry, to hear you have been dealing with such a threat to your health, on top of Lupus.:(

I am glad to hear the antibiotics are working and your infection seems to be going away.

Thank you, for this interesting post, and reminding us of the potential we all face from MRSA.


· Registered
283 Posts
Tom, what a rotten break! But it's good to hear you're responding to the medicine so quickly. These super infections are a real threat. My husband recently had a horrid bout with C-dif. He really suffered and it took the medicine a long time to really help.

Keep us posted on your progress. I agree with you about our hyper immune systems. I used to be the first one down with any bug that came along. But in the last couple years I've nursed my entire family through several rounds of flu/colds/creepin' crud without catching it. Maybe we are nature's answer to the emerging super bugs, but being the early evolved ones the whole thing isn't there yet.

Ah well, take care and rest and .... sterilize?


· Registered
3,394 Posts

Useful information although I hope I never need it ;)

I am glad things are improving for you and wish you even better days ahead :hug:


· Junior Member
1 Posts
I too have SLE and today after getting my THIRD infection they told me I have MRSA too. I'm so upset because I was in the hospital in January with an infection that the doctor said was a spider bite, then a month later I get another infection but had already gotten rid of that doctor and didn't have a doctor yet and they said it was just a boil, then today here we go again. They had to cut it out. I have so much pain in my elbow. It was in my shoulder/chest area. hard to explain exactly where. But right under my shoulder in the crease where you fold your arm. I am so upset. I can't believe on top of everything else this too. DANGIT.

· Junior Member
1 Posts
I've had SLE for 22 years and been through some pretty rough ones but this last one is really scary. January 21st my beloved dog died. I live alone and she was my best buddy for 10 years. Two weeks later my appendix burst. When the labs came back it showed cancer. Immediate Hemilectomy(I think that's right), which is removal and rerouting of part of the bowel. Two days after surgery I contacted MRSA. It was a nightmare. I was in the hospital 23 days and one week in a nursing home in quarantine. Three weeks at home and another infection and now my rheumatologist tells me my new labs are not good and she needs to see me ASAP. I thought it was over but someone just told me steroids and MRSA are not a good combination.
Does anyone have any info on this? Thanks,Peace, Judy
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