2007-10-25 / Other News

Local Civic Leader Alerts Residents About "Superbug"

By Dara Mormile

Ihrig reads from Reader's Digest superbug article.
Ihrig reads from Reader's Digest superbug article.

Wanda Ihrig, president of the Informed Voices Civic Association, was on the mark last week during the regular monthly meeting of her organization, when she warned residents of the dreaded "superbug."

Although she said she got her information from a recent issue of Reader's Digest, the announcement coincided with an article on the same topic in the latest addition of the Journal of the American Medical Association that was later in major newspapers and on local and national television news outlets.

"The sickness is happening nationally - but it's important to bring it to a local level," Ihrig said. "We're not saying to be scared, we're saying to be prepared."

During the October 16 meeting in the St. Jude School auditorium, Ihrig read from the August article in the Digest that explained the drug-resistant superbug, called Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MSRA), has been responsible for over 94,000 life-threatening infections and more than 18,000 deaths.

Commonly contracted in hospitals and nursing homes, the super bug is resistant to many antibiotics and a new strain called community-acquired invasive MRSA has hit many schools - especially in locker rooms and gyms - across the country. Community-acquired MRSA is contracted through open wounds that are not properly treated and become infected.

While healthcare workers are most at risk, Ihrig brought up a recent case that she said demonstrates the infection is no longer isolated to medical facilities. A 17-year-old Virginia high school student became a victim of the deadly staph infection, which enters the bloodstream and attacks various organs.

Symptoms that you may have contracted the superbug include the appearance of boils, small bumps or blisters on the infected area in addition to having fever and headaches. (If any of these symptoms appear, it is probably best you see your doctor).

According to medical experts, the best prevention is treating and covering skin breaks and cuts and washing your hands thoroughly. Ihrig suggested using antibacterial hand sanitizer when out in public.

Unfortunately, Ihrig said, there were no representatives from the Centers for Disease Control or the Health Department available to present at the meeting.

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