900 University Boulevard North
Jacksonville, Florida 32211
The Florida Department of Health in Duval County (DOH-Duval) is reminding the community of the importance of proper hygiene to prevent the spread of MRSA (Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus), the common cold, influenza, and a number of other infections. Research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) estimates that there are more than 94,000 MRSA infections and 18,000 deaths in the U.S. each year. MRSA no longer appears solely in healthcare settings, it is becoming more common in the community since its appearance in the 1960’s.
MRSA is a type of Staphylococcus (staph) resistant to some antibiotics. While 25% to 30% of the population is a carrier of staph, approximately 1% are afflicted with MRSA. Most staph and MRSA infections are treatable with antibiotics. Staph infections, including MRSA, occur most frequently among persons in hospitals and healthcare facilities (such as nursing homes and dialysis centers) who have weakened immune systems. These healthcare-associated staph infections include surgical wound infections, urinary tract infections, bloodstream infections, and pneumonia. In the community, MRSA is most often associated with skin infections but may also include more serious and life threatening infections.
Any disease outbreak or cluster in a community is considered reportable and the Department of Health has established a surveillance program aimed at MRSA in the community. The Department of Health is currently developing further surveillance to look for severe cases of MRSA infection in the community.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended precautions:
- Keep your hands clean by washing thoroughly with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
- Keep cuts and scrapes clean and covered with a bandage until healed
- Avoid contact with other people's wounds or bandages
- Avoid sharing personal items, such as towels or razors
The Department of Health also received a grant from the CDC for the “Get Smart” Campaign, an education campaign promoting the prudent use of antibiotics in order to prevent antimicrobial resistance organisms such as MRSA. For more information visit www.cdc.gov/drugresistance/.If you know someone that has a staph or MRSA infection, please contact a medical professional.