The Indian culture is such that it values relations and gives much importance to friends, family and social relations hence when ever we have moments of happiness, joy or sadness, sorrows, people gather in large number shows their solidarity to the individual and the family in general. Hence we have twice or even more the number of visitors than patients in a hospital. Troubled with these overwhelming number of visitors many new generation private hospitals have curbed the visiting time to minutes, but still people crowd around hospitals and wards putting their lives too in jeopardy by coming in direct contact with deadly strains of bacteria and viruses that are too common in hospitals.
One such bacteria is Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a dangerous bacteria which causes skin infections, in addition to skin infections, the bacteria will also cause many other types of deadly infections. There are several other variants for these bacteria according to where the bacteria are acquired by patients, such as Community-Acquired MRSA (CA-MRSA), Hospital-acquired or Health-care-acquired MRSA (HA-MRSA), or epidemic MRSA (EMRSA), are the major notified variants.
Although the Staphylococcus aureus bacteria had been causing infections in humans for quite long, as long since the existence of human race, but, the Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus bacteria has a relatively shorter history compared to the Staphylococcus aureus. MRSA was first noted in 1961, about two years after the antibiotic methicillin was initially used to treat Staphylococcus aureus bacterial infections and other infectious bacteria. Scientists had discovered that the resistance to methicillin was due to a penicillin-binding protein coded for by a mobile genetic element termed the methicillin-resistant gene.
Since then the gene has continued to evolve so that many MRSA strains are currently resistant to several different antibiotics such as Penicillin, Oxacillin, Amoxicillin, Tetracycline, Erythromycin, Clindamycin, many other newer generation antibiotics, this is a very dangerous situation that needs to be tackled with great care and caution, several research in the past has shown that many antibiotic-resistant genes and toxins are bundled and transferred together to other bacteria, which speed the development of toxic and resistant strains of MRSA. The Staphylococcus aureus bacterium sometimes is also termed as a “superbug” because of its ability to become resistant to several antibiotics. Unfortunately, MRSA can be found worldwide, especially in hospitals and other healthcare installations.
The hospital based MRSA infection is considered to be the most dangerous of all other strains of MRSA infection. It is because of its ability to become resistant to several newer generation antibiotics and causing infections that leads to death.
Signs and Symptoms of MRSA Infection:
Most MRSA infections are skin infections that produce the following signs and symptoms:
Cellulitis: is infection of the skin or the fat and tissues that lie immediately beneath the skin, usually starting as small red bumps in the skin.
- Boil or furuncle: are pus-filled infections of hair follicles.
- Abscess: is also collections of pus in under the skin tissue.
- Sty: is infection of eyelid gland.
- Carbuncle: are infections larger than an abscess, usually with several openings to the skin.
- Impetigo: is a type of skin infection with pus-filled blisters.
These MRSA infections, in certain severe cases could also spread over to other organs of the body and develop more severe symptoms. MRSA that spreads to internal organs can become life threatening. Fever, low blood pressure, joint pains, severe headaches, shortness of breath, and rash over most of the body are early symptoms, which need immediate medical attention, especially when associated with skin infections. Some of these variants MRSA such as CA-MRSA and HA-MRSA infections become severe complications such as Endocarditis, Necrotizing fasciitis, Osteomyelitis, Sepsis and follows death.
Propagation and Transmission of MRSA Infection:
There are two major modes of transmission, NAD propagation of MRSA bacteria, physical contact with the person who is either infected or is a carrier of the bacteria, carriers are people who might not be infected but are carrying or colonized with the bacteria on their body or clothing’s.
The second mode of transmission is via physically contact of MRSA bacteria on any objects that are infected by physical contact by an MRSA-infected person or carrier, such as door handles, chairs, tables, utensils, floors, sinks, clothing’s, towels, bed sheets etc, all that have been in direct physical contact.
Though the normal health skin tissue in people usually does not allow the development of MRSA infection, however the same cant be ruled out, if there is breach of protection on the skin tissues such cuts, abrasions or other skin disorders such chronic skin disease with dry patches, redness, and scales on the skin.
One must take precaution against this infection, especially children and young adults, may not notice small cuts and minor skin disorders, imperfections or scrapes and are hence vulnerable to MRSA infection, as they aren’t much serious in taking precaution about skin contacts. This is the likely reason MRSA outbreaks occur in diverse types of people such as school team players and sports men like football players or wrestling team members, hostel inmates and also among armed-services personnel in all those in constant close contact with each others, in such cases once someone gets infected or is a carriers then that would spread to all those who are in close contact.
People with higher risk of MRSA infection are those individuals or patients who have damaged the protective skin barriers, as in case of patients with surgical intervention or those who have met with accident and having traumatic wounds or hospital patients with intravenous lines, burns, or skin ulcers) and people with poor immune systems, especially infants, the elderly, or HIV-infected individuals also those with chronic diseases such as diabetes mellitus or cancer patients). People with lung diseases and infections such pneumonia can transmit MRSA by airborne droplets.
Hospital staff or the Health-care workers such as the Nurses, Doctors, Technicians and other support staff are a group of people who are repeatedly getting exposed to MRSA-positive patients and can have a high rate of infection if precautions are not taken properly, It is advisable that all health-care workers and patient visitors must use disposable masks, gowns, and gloves when they enter the MRSA-infected patient’s room.
Hospitals must take proper measure to curtail the spread of MRSA infections, proper fumigation, sanitation is required to monitor and control the spread of this deadly infection.
Prevention of MRSA Infection:
MRSA infection can be prevent by following these measure, Avoiding direct physical contact with the skin, clothing, and any items that come in contact with either MRSA patients or MRSA carriers is the best way to avoid MRSA infection.
Though it is not practical to identify infected individuals or carriers, individuals should ensure that any cuts or breaks on the skin should be managed properly by applying a antiseptic cream and cover the wound with a band aid or sterile dressing gauze, use excellent hygiene practices like hand washing with soap after personal contact or toilet use, washing clothes that potentially come in contact with MRSA patients or carriers, and use of disposables while treating or taking care of MRSA patients, Antiseptic solutions and wipes, are used to clean hands and surfaces that may contact with MRSA. These measures help control the spread of MRSA.
One must consult with their doctors if they are infected or are carriers of MRSA.
It is always wise to be safe and away from all the possible means from which this infection spreads from one individual to other, the hospital acquired MRSA bacteria strain is consider to be the most deadly and resistant strain as it is resistant to most of the antibiotic and is more powerful compared to its other variants.
Better to avoid all unnecessary hospital visits as this would not only help you in preventing infection but also would help the patients in faster recovery by not giving out secondary infection from you accidentally being a carrier by physical contact from some other part of the hospital and depositing it to the patients room or body by physical contact.
Avoiding hospital visits not only turns out good for you and the patients, but also avoids unnecessary rush in the hospital complex and parking woes.