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The research channel broadcast an excellent lecture on MRSA (methicillin-resistant S. aureus). MRSA is a dangerous infection that is a widespread killer in hospital patients.

Now MRSA is moving from hospitals into the public (the CDC calls this "community acquired" MRSA). I was shocked to hear that there were over 18,000 deaths from MRSA last year -- double the number of AIDS deaths!!

This is an African-American issue because the rate of infection is twice as high in African-Americans than in whites.

MRSA is usually an ugly skin infection. But the particular strain moving into the public secretes a poison that kills white blood cells and can cause tissues to literally dissolve. This is the skin eating bacteria.

Worse, MRSA can move into the blood, heart and lungs. These infections can be fatal. The doctor showed an X-ray of a patient with lungs literally eaten away with holes like swiss cheese. <shiver>

Everyone is vulnerable to MRSA. Young, healthy athletes have died from MRSA.

The CDC has information on "Community acquired" MRSA.

Here are methods to avoid being infected.
Practice good hygiene:

1. Keep your hands clean by washing thoroughly with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

2. Keep cuts and scrapes clean and covered with a bandage until healed.

3. Avoid contact with other people’s wounds or bandages.

4. Avoid sharing personal items such as towels or razors.

If you/ your kids play on sports teams, make sure the coach strictly keeps MRSA-infected players out of contact with the others. Make sure they tell all the kids to NEVER share towels. This is how healthy athletes have been infected.

If you know anyone with AIDS, warn them that MRSA can be more serious in AIDS patients.

Any nasty skin eruption should be tested. Some MRSA infections have been mistaken for spider bites. Since MRSA spreads, time is of the essence in treatment.

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