Staphylococcus aureus: Public domain image courtesy Wikimedia.
Staphylococcus aureus: Public domain image courtesy Wikimedia.
There’s a new Superbug scare going on in the United States. The Staph Superbug is an evolved strain of staphylococcus aureus that is super-resistant to several common antibiotics. Called MRSA (for Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus), its most recent victims are an 11-year-old Mississippi girl, and a 17-year-old Virginia student whose death resulted in the entire school district closing down. That was by no means an overreaction. Infections have been reported in four other states, and residents are becoming concerned. And no wonder. US officials warn that the Staph Superbug could infect 90,000 people this year in the United States. In 2005, more than 18,500 people died from it.

In the past, most MRSA infections were contracted mainly in hospitals or health care facilities, but what's got officials worried is that the infection is now showing up more in community-based locations such as daycare centers, prisons, and schools.

Many people carry Staph on their person without even knowing it. The bacteria can live in the nose or on the skin of healthy individuals without affecting them adversely. It's passed from one person to another by contact, and becomes a problem when it gets inside your body, through a cut or open sore. Usually, traditional antibiotics such as penicillin can defend against the germ. But in recent years, over-prescribing of antibiotics coupled with the bacteria’s ability to quickly evolve a resistance against those antibiotics has produced the current deadly strain of the bug.

Health officials say the best defense against Staph is good basic hygiene, such as washing your hands often, and not sharing personal items. JGordon wrote extensively about this in a previous post.

Symptoms of Staph infection can vary and depend on where the infection is located. Externally, it can show up as boils in the skin (furuncle) or as a red, warm and painful localized skin infection (cellulites), or cause blisters or honey-colored crusted skin lesions (impetigo), or infection of hair follicles (folliculitis). It's most dangerous when it infects the blood stream because then it can be transported anywhere in your body. These are but a few of the possible symptoms.

If you do get infected with MRSA, early treatment is critical. Two drugs that can defend against the Superbug are Vancomicin and Vactrum, but only if it’s caught in its early stages.


Post Chronicle story
Fox News story
Staph infection info
Antibiotics Resistance
More about MRSA
More on Staph infection symptoms

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I was diagnosed with MRSA this summer and it was in my bloodstream and went to my right elbow and which I had 3 surgeries on this elbow and was hospitalized for 2 weeks and at home under homehealth for 6 weeks taking IV of Vancomicin. It was really tough. I also have addison's disease which causes a low immune system which made it only harder to recover. I am doing much better now.

posted on Fri, 10/19/2007 - 6:25am
mdr's picture
mdr says:

Thanks for sharing your story. I'm sorry you had to go through all that. It must be tough dealing with this kind of affliction, and especially so when you have a weakened immune system. I'm glad you are doing much better.

posted on Fri, 10/19/2007 - 12:13pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

one time i went to florida and it was raining so bad that there was a tornad

posted on Sat, 10/20/2007 - 11:24am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

MRSA is really dangerous people plz be careful outthere

posted on Tue, 10/23/2007 - 7:44pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Please, let me know where can I call to report a company that we already know someone have been hospitalized with this terrible virus.The people in charge of that location do not want to tell any one elses.I think this is a big mistake since anybody can get contaminated. Looks like the owners do not care about the health of their personnel.

posted on Thu, 10/25/2007 - 8:44am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:


posted on Sun, 10/28/2007 - 3:39pm
Liza's picture
Liza says:

Just a reminder: MRSA is a bacterium, not a virus.

posted on Mon, 11/12/2007 - 9:35am
mdr's picture
mdr says:

Each state has its own health department. Check your phone book or Google to locate the one in your state. I think that would be a good place to start. If you live in Minnesota, the Minnesota Health Department website is at http://www.health.state.mn.us/

posted on Thu, 10/25/2007 - 9:46am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:


posted on Tue, 11/06/2007 - 11:59am
Silver_Owl's picture
Silver_Owl says:

You know, it is a dangerous disease but overreacting is the worst thing you could do. Be calm and assertive, get top the hospital if you have it and report someone that does have it to the health services. Other than this, we must all still live our lives.

posted on Wed, 11/07/2007 - 11:23am
Bert's picture
Bert says:

My 6 year old all of a sudden had a painfully swollen lymph node (huge lump) in his armpit a few weeks ago. I took him to the ER and they prescribed antibiotics and referred me to a surgeon. The surgeon said to wait a week and see if the antibiotics will get rid of it, if it didn't he would have to have surgery. Thankfully it went away, with only a tiny lump left behind (scar tissue). The surgeon said it was most likely an infection caused by a cat scratch.
Now, just 3 weeks later, my 12 year old has exactly the same thing in his armpit.
Is it possible that this could be MRSA?

posted on Sun, 11/11/2007 - 2:29pm
mdr's picture
mdr says:

I guess anything is possible, but was MRSA mentioned by the emergency room staff or by the surgeon when they diagnosed your 6-year-old? Also you don't mention what kind of antibiotic was used against your son’s condition. According to the story MRSA responds to just a couple kinds (Vancomicin and Vactrum) and only if it’s caught in the early stages of the infection. And even if either was used to treat him that doesn't mean the infection was MRSA. Your sons' symptoms don’t seem to match symptoms mentioned in the article but nonetheless your twelve-year-old should be checked out by a doctor.

posted on Sun, 11/11/2007 - 5:57pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Bactrum not vactrum. I've had it dozens of times and have it again in my armpit and I am scared this time because a guy died locall.

posted on Sat, 11/17/2007 - 9:16am
Gene's picture
Gene says:

Here's an earlier Buzz post on staph infections.

posted on Mon, 11/12/2007 - 9:54am
fire_medic_00's picture
fire_medic_00 says:

I my self cought staph from one of my patents and it has localized under my right armpit hav had one surgery to my suprise in 2 weeks it returned eaven worse then the first time it is really painful and is very red and hot to the touch . I guess its time for the doc to cut it again oohhh joy

posted on Wed, 08/20/2008 - 10:26am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

did do a culture of the staph infection. my boyfriend and i went thru repetitive staph infections for which i had to have one surgery until they located that correct antibiotics for the particular strain. there is apparently only one medication that treats the strain we had and over the last 2 years we have had reoccurences so it's important to figure out which medications will/won't work.

posted on Wed, 08/20/2008 - 2:08pm
Sue's picture
Sue says:

Here is an interesting link all about MRSA - Staph.

posted on Wed, 09/02/2009 - 1:52pm
MRSA's picture
MRSA says:

Thanks for sharing your story. I'm sorry you had to go through all that. It must be tough dealing with this kind of affliction, and especially so when you have a weakened immune system. I'm glad you are doing much better.

posted on Mon, 05/17/2010 - 6:03am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I have small bumps that look like bug bites...but they are all over my body and itch like crazy! Ive been on 2 anti-biotics but no help. Its stopped for 2 days after taking benadryl...but is back even worse. Does Mrsa itch? And can they be small and all over at the same time? Sorry to sound so stupid. Im just beginning to research mrsa... thanks.

posted on Wed, 02/23/2011 - 5:36am

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