Doctors Lounge - Infections Answers
provided on www.doctorslounge.com is designed to support, not
replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site
visitor and his/her physician."
Back to Infections Answers List
- Sat Nov 08, 2008 1:10 am
Hello. I Need some advice and help. Last March (8 months ago) my brother had an outbreak of dermatological MRSA on his abdomen. Please note, I do not live with him. He was treated with oral, nasal and topical antibiotics. At that time, he got a nose culture which presented with staph but not MRSA. A couple of months after my brother's outbreak, my stepfather (who lives with my brother) had 2 consecutive boils in his underarm. When he went to the doctor, they said it was not MRSA and did not test him. So today, we do not know if these 2 boils were indeed MRSA. They resolved on their own.
I had a baby 4 months after my brothers outbreak in July and while I was in the hospital I asked the doctors if it was safe to allow my brother to have contact with the baby. They told me that he shouldnt hold him. Why did they say this? We were all heartbroken. Right there, this was the beginning of the end for my family. We all got paranoid and decided to get cultured. We were all negative except for my stepfather (who lives with my brother). He was positive as a carrier of MRSA, but never had an outbreak (except for the 2 underarm boils which we do not know about). Please note, at this time my brother got tested and no staph were present at all. Could this be due to the treatment for his outbreak? So, like my brother, my stepfather got treated with 2 weeks of oral and topical antibiotics and washed with the special soap.
Ironically, we noticed a pustule in the diaper area of my 3 week old son, brought him to the doctor (who lanced it and told us to apply Bactroban for a week). A culture proved it to be MRSA.
I am so paranoid about this situation that since my son's pustule, nobody from my family's household (mom, brother, stepdad) have seen the baby. I saw how easily my son contracted it and my stepfather only held him once and NEVER changed him. This makes me think it was simply "carried" to him from my mother who was changing the baby, and she tested negative. I am deathly scared about my son gtting it again, especially at such a young age. I am also terrified of becoming a carrier myself. Would I have to stay away from my son just as doctors are directing my stepfather to do? That would be a tragedy.
My questions: My stepfather and brother have both had negative cultures since their treatments and MRSA episodes. My brother's negative culture was taken 5 months after his infection and my stepfather received 2 negative cultures- once 2 weeks after treatment and once a month later. Are they cured? Can they spontaneously recolonize from within their bodies or would recolonization only involve being exposed to the MRSA again in their external environments? I am so scared that they will recolonize without anybody knowing, contaminate their household again, and that the MRSA can be carried to my household and baby (now 3 months old). My mother is an innocent bystander because she is negative but can serve to simply "transport" the MRSA (as had been done with the baby's first episode). I know his MRSA came from them because he did not leave my house and everybody else who had contact with him tested negative.
Right now, my whole family is very mad at me for keeping the baby from them. I feel like I lost my family at a time in my life which is supposed to be the happiest...the birth of my first child and the first grandchild. Please help me. I am heartbroken along with the rest of my family. However, I cannot and will not take a chance when it comes to the health and life of my son. I lost twins a year ago due to twin to twin transfusion syndrome and I would not be able to deal with another tragedy. Please, please help. Thank you so very much.
| Dr. Safaa Mahmoud
- Sun Nov 16, 2008 8:32 am
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) is a type of staph that is resistant to conventional antibiotics like methicillin and other penicillins.
There two main forms of MRSA infections which are healthcare-associated MRSA mainly in those who have weakened immune systems and a community acquired CA-MRSA infections.
CA-MRSA infections occur in normal individuals not exposed to health care facilities like dialysis machine, or are hospitalized for other causes.
CA- MRSA infections typically presents with skin infections, like pimples and boils in healthy individuals. Spread of infection is by direct contact with the person infected skin or indirect by contact with his personal items like towels he or she used to dry areas of infected skin. This likely to happen in places where close contact is possible like at home and schools.
It is important to know that contact with MRSA infected skin or towels does not mean you certainly would catch the disease, to occur it needs a broken skin barrier like cuts or scrapes.
This means that there are ways to defend our body and skin from catching infection by sticking to good hygiene and regular cleaning with soap and water or alcohol containing washes. Covering any area of skin damage is very important as well as avoiding the use of any others personal staff.
If your family members are tested negative for MRSA including yourself, you may safely allow them to contact your child but it is better that all of you follow strict hygienic measure e.g. simple hand wash with water and soap before contacting your child, this will reassure you and them.
And good news is that the majority of CA-MRSA is non invasive skin infections and can be controlled efficiently.
There are many instructions provided by the CDC regarding this issue, so for more information you can follow this link.
http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dhqp/ar_mrsa_ ... anage.html
Please keep us updated.
- Tue May 05, 2009 2:06 pm
I am only responding because I don't think the doctors are where they need to be on MRSA, I don't think they have yet figured out exactly what causes it.
So I wanted to let you know our experience with it.
My family lives an hour away and my brother used to get MRSA a lot, so did his daughter. When I say a lot it was nothing for my niece to have 8 or 9 at a time. My brother either. Then my nephew started to get them, lived next door to them. My mother is not the cleanest person. Yet she never got one, my Dad never got one,my SIL never got one, my other brother never got one and two of the other kids never got one. The ones that did kept them for a little over a year, they would go away then come back. Here is how they live: well water from a shallow well, not very clean people (they don't wash hands very often or sterilize anything).
Now let me tell you about the family down the street.. This is how this family lives: they are clean and looking at them you would think higher middle class. Her son got one and then it spread to her other son, neither parent ever got one but they too kept them for a long time, a little under a year. When they would get one she would clean the tub out with bleach after every bath, sterilize the house, use the nose meds for every person in the hosue, and antibiotics for the ones with MRSA.
So I don't know how it spreads.. But I don't think it has to do with cleanliness.
Then one day my son got one so I carried him to the doctor and he lanced it and sent us home with meds. Next day he fell and it caused the infection still in there to pop up into another bump so I carried him to the ER, they hooked him up IV antibiotics, he was allergic so they gave him benedryl, he was allergic, they knocked him out. Next day they carried him in to surgery and cleaned the whole thing out, yes surgery. He had never had it since, 5 years ago.
Then in January I came down with MRSA on the inside, no visible sign on the outside until I got up hurting by next day I couldn't move, they thought I would not be able to walk again at first. Never had surgery , had not been in a hospital for any reason, so they have no clue how I got it. They did say it can happen to people who get MRSA over and over again so I wonder if when a person gets it repeatedly if there isn't a point where it infects deeper than the outside, like mine through the blood and bone, then when they are treated they are only treated for MRSA on the surface which heals faster and with much less meds and because it is deeper they aren't getting rid of it completely. I was in the hospital on 3 antibiotics for a week, two antibiotics for two more weeks, then finally down to one antibiotic for another week then sent home with it in IV for another 2 months to get rid of the MRSA on the inside.
I have yet to touch a person with MRSA and catch it though.
As long as your family washes ther hands I do think it will fine to hold the baby after all when I was in the hospital they let my 3 year old, 10 year old, and 12 year stay with me for a month. They didn't all stay at the same time but would take turns staying the night with me, expect 3 year old stayed the whole last two weeks not leaving my side. If it were that unsafe there is no way they could have stayed in my room. BTW, not one of them got the MRSA.
So I really hope you will relax with your family and just keep an eye out for the little one because if she had MRSA she will probably get it again but as long as you have her treated she will be fine. Just be sure the doctor knows if it is something that recus often and speak to them about it getting into her blood.