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Educational Forum Quells Myths About the Drug-Resistant Bacteria

11/27/2007


Infectious Disease experts at Stony Brook University Medical Center held a public education forum on MRSA (Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus), the infection-causing bacteria in the news because of cases cropping up in communities nationwide. The experts explained what MRSA is, how to prevent MRSA infection, and answered questions that dispelled myths about MRSA. The forum took place at the Wang Center at Stony Brook University on November 19.

"MRSA does not spread through the air, but rather through contact from infected skin lesions, nasal discharge or from hands," said Susan V. Donelan, M.D., an adult Infectious Disease specialist and Medical Director, Infection Control. "Washing your hands with soap and water and keeping cuts clean and covered are the best ways to prevent or spread infection," explained Dr. Donelan, indicating that the primary prevention focus should be vigilant hygiene practices by individuals and families.

Sharon Nachman, M.D., Chief of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, said that even though MRSA is resistant to numerous antibiotics, MRSA can still be effectively treated with certain antibiotics. She explained that if an antibiotic does not begin working within 48 hours, then another should replace it to fight against the infection. Dr. Nachman also said that while several pharmaceutical companies are working on a vaccine against MRSA, the community should not expect to see a vaccine on the market for at least five years.

For those concerned about MRSA living a long time on a surface, such as in a gym or a public bathroom, Jorge L. Benach, Ph.D., Director of the Center for Infectious Diseases, clarified that the pathogen normally lives in the skin so it can persist for some time on surfaces. Dr. Benach emphasized that by using common sense, such as washing and showering following contact with dirty surfaces or gym equipment, the transmission of MRSA in such settings is minimal.

 Pictured, from left, are: Susan V. Donelan, M.D., Medical Director, Infection Control; Jorge L. Benach, Ph.D., Director of the Center for Infectious Diseases, and Sharon Nachman, M.D., Chief of Pediatric Infectious Diseases Stony Brook University Medical Center held a public education forum on MRSA (Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus) at the Wang Center on November 19. The truth about the transmission of MRSA and the importance of vigilant hygiene practices were among the topics discussed by SBUMC Infectious Disease experts. Pictured, from left, are: Susan V. Donelan, M.D., Medical Director, Infection Control; Jorge L. Benach, Ph.D., Director of the Center for Infectious Diseases, and Sharon Nachman, M.D., Chief of Pediatric Infectious Diseases.
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