January 7, 2011

First-Ever Guidelines for MRSA Treatment

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- In an attempt to stop the MRSA superbug, the Infectious Disease Society of America (ISDA) released its first-ever guidelines for the treatment of MRSA, helping physicians manage the common antibiotic-resistant infection.

MRSA in the most common type of skin infection that sends people to the ER, and its invasive nature kills approximately 18,000 people a year.

"MRSA has become a huge public health problem, and physicians often struggle with how to treat it," Catherine Liu, M.D., lead author of the guidelines and assistant clinical professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of California, San Francisco, was quoted as saying. "The guidelines establish a framework to help physicians determine how to evaluate and treat uncomplicated as well as invasive infections. It's designed to be a living document, meaning the recommendations will evolve as new information and antibiotics become available."

Good hygiene is the best defense against MRSA, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), including keeping the hands clean, keeping cuts and scrapes clean and covered with a bandage, avoiding contact with other people's wounds, and avoiding sharing personal items such as towels or razors.

The IDSA guidelines address a variety of infections caused by MRSA that are commonly encountered by emergency room doctors, pediatricians, primary care physicians, hospitalists, infectious diseases specialists, pharmacists and other health care providers. Topics include: how to manage skin and soft tissue infections likely caused by community-associated MRSA; how to treat recurrent skin infections; recommendations regarding use of the intravenous antibiotic vancomycin and other antibiotics used for the treatment of MRSA; how to manage invasive infections, such as pneumonia, and infections in the bones, joints, blood or heart; and how to treat newborns who are infected with MRSA.

The voluntary guidelines are not meant to take the place of a doctor's judgment but rather to support the decision-making process, which must be individualized according to each patient's circumstances.

SOURCE: Clinical Infectious Diseases, published online January 5, 2010