Health staff targeted at New York Times Health Fair Talk, October 19
Rose Knapp, MSN, RN, APRN, ACNP, a clinical professor of pharmacology and nurse practitioner at New York University’s College of Nursing, had seen over a six-month period more than 100 otherwise healthy patients with painful, persistent abscesses that looked like insect bites and would not heal with standard antibiotics. The culprit was penicillin-resistant CA-MRSA-a fierce infection previously acquired only in hospitals among ill patients.
On October 19, 2006, Ms. Knapp presented her findings at the New York Times Nursing Career and Health Fair held at the Marriott Marquis. The talk, “A New Bug in Town: Community-Acquired MRSA in Athletes, College Students, and the Public and the Need for Early Recognition and Treatment,” was intended to make health care workers aware of this strain. Ms. Knapp presented case studies on healthy individuals who had persistent abscesses that were eventually treated after proper culturing and antibiotic treatment.
“MRSA is well known by hospital personnel as an infection that is hard to get rid of once it becomes established in a hospital,” says Ms. Knapp. “But now it is being seen in healthy individuals who live in close quarters such as athletes, college students, military personnel, and prisoners.
Community-acquired MRSA is transferred through nasal secretions and can be avoided through hand-washing. Abscesses may appear anywhere on the body. If untreated, they can lead, in rare cases, to lethal problems including sepsis and osteomyelitis. The Centers for Disease Control are working toward recommending a standard treatment protocol. Ms. Knapp says the infection can be treated with Bactrim or Rifampin with Bactrim. With complicated cases, Zyvox or Vancomycin is needed.
“The most important thing is for health care providers to be aware of the population at risk,” says Ms. Knapp. “They must recognize symptoms of CA-MRSA, perform a culture, and provide proper antibiotic therapy. Most importantly hand-washing, not sharing athletic equipment, and seeking appropriate medical care will aid in the prevention of the spread of this condition.”