MRSA-Affecting the School children

MRSA-Affecting the School children
    Penicillin was indeed the product of accidental discovery, but the discovery was made, and the knowledge developed, because certain scientists had definite goals in mind. "Chance," Pasteur wrote, "favors only the prepared mind." The mind must be prepared not only by scientific training and technological know-how, but also by the awareness of social needs.- Saturday Review, Poor Man’s College Collection.

It was all in the news that few schools have the outbreak of MRSA in their facility. The school leaders initiated an immediate cleaning of the gym lockers and the facility. Why is this so important in MRSA?

How many of our children came home and brought with them their used gym clothes for washing? How many of our children have minor cuts or open wounds that were sustained while in school, have not been healing well, and we don’t know anything about it? My son who has some changing clothes in his locker for gym seldom brings them home for washing. When I approached him one day, the next day he brought in 4 shorts and 4 soiled shirts. Sounds familiar?

What is MRSA?
MRSA is short for Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus, the bacteria that have been resistant to some types of antibiotics. Staphylococcus aureus or staph for short, is commonly found in most healthy people but do not necessarily cause infection. It is most commonly carried in the skin and in the nose. Most skin infections such as pimples or boils are caused by staph bacteria and can be treated by antibiotics. Some staph can cause severe infection to wounds, pneumonia, and the most serious is septicemia or blood infection.

What makes the Staph resistant to antibiotics?
MRSA as the name implied, cannot be treated with certain antibiotics called beta-lactams or penams. These are antibiotics that have beta-lactam rings that are specific structures in this family of antibiotics such as the penicillins, cephalosporins, carbapenems, and monobactams.

The three carbons and one nitrogen molecule forming beta-lactam ring is the key for the bactericidal effect of beta-lactam antibiotics by inhibiting the bacteria cell wall synthesis. The antibiotic binds to staph or organism, blocks the cell division, and disintegrates the organism. However, the staph over the years, developed an enzyme to dissolves the beta-lactam rings called beta-lactamase. Once the beta-lactam ring is dissolved, the antibiotic becomes ineffective to this kind of staph or the organism is now called the Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus.

Pharmaceutical companies after learning the effect of beta-lactamase, developed a much-improved beta-lactam antibiotics that can resist or partially resist the effect of the enzyme beta-lactamase. These new antibiotics are much broader in its action and can be effective to other types of infection caused by gram-negative organisms. These broad-spectrum antibiotics are the third or fourth generations of penicillin or combinations of other antibiotics that are more effective in treating MRSA.

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What is the incidence/prevalence of MRSA?
The report released dated October 17, 2007 by Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion at CDC, stated that there are approximately 89.4 million people in the U.S. are colonized by the staph and 2.3 million of them are MRSA.

According to Jeff Hageman, an epidemiologist with Division of Health Care Quality Promotion at CDC there are growing numbers of incidents now spreading in the community most specially in school, day care, dormitories, correctional facilities, and military barracks. The MRSA has been around for years and it just recently became more common in the community as the leading cause of skin infections or wound infections.

This is spread through skin-to-skin contact and sharing of personal items such as razor, towels, or garments.

How should we do to protect our children?

  • Good hand washing techniques and good personal hygiene is the most important
  • Avoid crowding where skin –to skin contact is most likely to happen
  • Take a shower after exercise or sports

  • Avoid sharing of personal effects such as towels, clothes, etc.

  • Clean lockers with good antimicrobial /disinfectant cloths /solutions

  • High touched areas such exercise equipment in the gymnasium such as treadmills, weights, or other athletic equipment and gadgets like bars, basketballs, rackets, etc. must be cleaned after each use

  • For any open wounds, see your doctor for further management

  • Avoid self-treatment and if the wound is not healing or worsen after the medication in 4-5 days, revisit your doctor for further evaluation and management

  • The key to treating MRSA infection or any infection is the early recognition and early treatment by the health provider.

    For additional information about MRSA, visit the related links.

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    Content copyright © 2023 by Helen V. Calalang-Javier, MSN, RNC, IBCLC. All rights reserved.
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