MRSA update

Our clinic continues to follow the latest treatment recommendations for MRSA (methicillin resistant staph aureus). The type of staph that is occurring more commonly in the community is different from hospital MRSA that emerged 20+ years ago. That type of MRSA is resistant to nearly all oral antibiotics. Community MRSA that is commonly causing skin infections is still sensitive to a number of oral antibiotics. It is very common and our office probably sees 10-20 cases per week. We changed our prescribing pattern several years ago to target this changing bacteria. We culture abscesses when drained in our office to identify type of bacteria but always pick antibiotic that will target community MRSA (fortunately there still are several options). Draining the abscess is the most effective treatment for skin infections.

The vast majority of cases of MRSA we see are in the skin and the remaining percentage are in the bones. Kids with skin only infections are rarely ill and often do not even have fever. "Regular" staph actually infects bones and bloodstream more easily than community MRSA. The best prevention is frequent hand washing and avoiding sharing towels, washcloths and clothing. Keep open sores clean with soap, water and topical antibiotic. Seek medical care when pus forming lesions are seen on the skin for antibiotics and possible draining of the abscess.

Staph pneumonia is one of the causes of death from influenza. This occurs most often in children with underlying health problems but can also occur in healthy children. It is for this and other reasons we recommend influenza vaccination for all our patients over 6 months old. Flu shot clinics for seasonal flu will begin in September. H1N1 (swine flu) pandemic flu shot clinics will begin when vaccine is available, probably November.