World MRSA Day 2013
September 30, 2013

World MRSA Day Raises Awareness About ‘Superbug’ While Founder Challenges CDC Report

Brett Smith for - Your Universe Online

Survivors of methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) gathered near Chicago on Saturday ahead of the fifth annual World MRSA Day on October 2. Organized by the MRSA Survivors Network, the gathering and surrounding campaign are intended to educate and raise awareness about the public health threat posed by the so-called 'superbug.'

Ahead of the gathering, MRSA Survivors Network founder Jeanine Thomas denounced a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stating that MRSA infection rates are declining. Citing statistics from Illinois Department of Public Health, Thomas said the number of MRSA infections in her state alone are on the rise and called the report “grossly inaccurate.”

Released in mid-September, the CDC report said that MRSA infection rates in the US dropped 30 percent from 2005 to 2011 with over 110,000 cases in 2005 and about 80,500 in 2011.

“Hospitals in the US continue to under report MRSA infections and the CDC’s 80,500 statistic is more close to the MRSA death rate in the US,” said Thomas.

In a press release, the network called for healthcare facilities to take a “more aggressive” approach toward the superbug and enact a “search and destroy” mission in each facility to reduce MRSA infections.

“MRSA screening is only one component to reducing MRSA infections,” the statement said. “A comprehensive approach using (ADI) – active detection and isolation, decolonizing, strict adherence to hand hygiene, decontamination of frequently touched surfaces and prudent use of antibiotics are all imperative to reduce infections.”

The MRSA Survivors Network isn’t the only organization being mindful about the threat posed by the superbug. Doctors who work with the NFL called for vigilance in trying to prevent infections in a memo released by in early September. The notice came two weeks after Tampa Bay Buccaneers admitted that guard Carl Nicks and place-kicker Lawrence Tynes were both fighting the superbug.

The September CDC report denounced by Thomas covered a wide range of antibiotic-resistant public health threats, including MRSA. According to the report, more than 23,000 people annually die as a result of an infection from antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

“Antibiotic resistance is rising for many different pathogens that are threats to health,” said CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden in a statement. “If we don’t act now, our medicine cabinet will be empty and we won’t have the antibiotics we need to save lives.”

In addition to being used to treat infections in humans, antibiotics are commonly fed to livestock animals to prevent, control, and treat disease as well as to promote growth. The FDA recently proposed rules restricting the use of these drugs in farm animals, saying they could only be used when medically necessary to target specific diseases and health problems.

“Every time antibiotics are used in any setting, bacteria evolve by developing resistance. This process can happen with alarming speed,” said Dr. Steve Solomon, CDC’s Office of Antimicrobial Resistance. “These drugs are a precious, limited resource—the more we use antibiotics today, the less likely we are to have effective antibiotics tomorrow.”