I recently attended the annual Sports Medicine Symposium here at the Medical College of Wisconsin and thought I'd pass along some nuggets of info. Craig Young, MD, a Medical College of Wisconsin orthopaedic surgeon, gave a talk on Methicillin Resistant Streptococcus Aureus (MRSA) that I thought contained some useful information for the general public, which I will pass along. Dr. Young deserves the credit for researching this topic. I am just spreading the word.
MRSA is a bacterial infection that is becoming more prevalent because of its resistance to common antibiotics. MRSA has emerged more frequently with sports teams, most notably an outbreak with the St. Louis Rams in 2003 in which 9 percent of the players tested positive for the bug. In that case, MRSA was found to be present in common places like the whirlpool and taping gels.
MRSA most commonly presents as a skin infection that resembles a pimple or boil that patients often refer to as "spider bites."
Additionally but less common, MRSA can present as necrotizing fasciitis, which is a very serious, life-threatening infection of the skin, soft tissue and fascia.
Risk factors include: 1) contact with infected individuals or items, 2) young healthy patient from ethnic minority in low socioeconomic group, 3) recent use of antimicrobial agents, 4) shaving of body hair.
Since MRSA is resistent to some antibiotics the best treatment is prevention. First, use good hygiene — don't share razors, keep nails trimmed, change underwear daily, clean equipment after using. Second, minimize antibiotic use. Overuse of antibiotics or antimicrobial soaps can contribute to an MRSA proliferation because they can kill other bacteria that help stop MRSA from multiplying.
As with all topics in this blog, the information here should not be a substitute for diagnosis or treatment from a physician. If you suspect that you may have MRSA, contact your physician immediately!