Saturday, November 19, 2005

Community acquired methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus: what to tell the family

Many young and otherwise healthy patients are now being hospitalized with community acquired methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) infections. Family members, taking notice when we place these patients on contact isolation, naturally want to know if they should take similar precautions when the patient goes home. Here’s a little blurb from Patient Care on how to counsel patients and family at discharge.

This is a big deal for a couple of reasons. First, as pointed out in the Patient Care article, CA-MRSA seems to be more transmissible than the “old” and more familiar MRSA. Worse, at least some CA-MRSA strains are hyper-virulent, associated with severe and rapidly progressive infections such as necrotizing pneumonia, due in part to the Panton-Valentine leukocidin. The issue of CA-MRSA pneumonia was reviewed in last April’s Current Opinion in Infectious Disease (subscription required).

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