If you haven’t yet heard of MRSA — Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus — you soon will.
In the St. Louis Post-Dispatch today (10/17/2007), the front page headline reads, “Staph deadlier than AIDS,” and the article contains some sobering information from a recent report:
- MRSA causes an estimated 18,650 deaths nation wide (94,360 total cases). In the same year that provided the framework for the MRSA study (2005), AIDS killed about 12,500 people.
- Most cases of MRSA infections were health-care related. In fact, for only 13.7% of the infections were the health care industry ruled out as a possible cause. 26.6% were considered “Hospital-onset” and 58.4% were categorized as “Post-health care within previous year.”
- Currently, the most vulnerable population groups are elderly, blacks, and young children.
The article is actually from the Washington Post, so you can read it from either source: The St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s copy is here, and the Washington Post’s is here. Neither article contains the graphics or the “How to Prevent Infection” information that came in my daily print version, but the Washington Post online article does contain a link to a video.
(FYI: There is an MSNBC posting of an AP article that uses different figures than the Post-Dispatch (or Post) article, including dramatically different figures for the 2005 AIDS deaths: 17,011. However, it still pegs the estimated MRSA deaths as greater. It is worth a read, as well: find it here. Another benefit of the MSNBC online article: It does list the AP’s “How to Prevent Infection” info.)
Will popular actors and rock musicians be putting together a benefit concert and mass media event to fund research into cures for MRSA any time soon? I suspect that it is not as “hip” a disease as AIDS in that community so I doubt it, but I may need to repent for being overly cynical.
If you have had a loved one die from MRSA, then none of this is necessarily a surprise to you. I have (and so have some of you, I know) and I have known several others who had been infected or have had family members infected. I also know a woman who was advised by her doctors in the hospital that they wanted to get her husband out of the hospital ASAP to reduce the risk of his contracting MRSA. I would discuss the horribly difficult complications that can arise from an MRSA infection, but I know too many who are too close to the subject and I do not want to relive it with them — if you are ignorant of the ravages that can be caused by this disease, please consider reading one of the articles linked in this post, for your own good and for the good of your family.
Then there is this Associated Press story from Virginia: “21 schools closed after teen dies of staph”. One poor young man gets sick and dies, and 21 schools are closed for intensive cleaning. No, it’s not an overreaction.
I cannot help but be reminded of the many prophetic passages in Scripture that speak as Deuteronomy 28:27 does, in which God says that if she does not repent Israel will experience, “the boils of Egypt, with tumors, with the scab, and with the itch, from which you cannot be healed.” Perhaps an effective means of defeating this bacteria will be found — we can all hope and pray — but unless America begins to turn to her God, we can expect MRSA to be only the preview of the feature presentation yet to come.