Three Stony Brook University MRSA Cases UnrelatedNov 20, 2008 | Parker Waichman LLP Three cases of MRSA—also known as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus—which were recently diagnosed in students at Long Island's Stony Brook University are unrelated, according to doctors speaking in a Newsday.com article.
"These are what we call sporadic cases of MRSA," Dr. Susan Donelan, a specialist in adult infectious diseases at Stony Brook University Medical Center, told Newsday.com. Donelan noted that it was a coincidence that the three infections were diagnosed so close together. "This stuff happens ... about 30 percent of the population carries Staphyloccoci … we're on a campus with 9,000 residents," she said. Student names and the details about their illnesses are confidential, Newsday.com said.
According to Newsday.com, school administrators convened student media to question Donelan and Dr. Sharon Nachman, a pediatric infectious disease specialist. The group met yesterday and discussed MRSA and practices that reduce infection as documented by the federal Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The CDC explains that MRSA can be transmitted through direct skin-to-skin contact and usually begins with a small pustule or boil. According to the CDC, all MRSA infections can be treated early with drainage and antibiotics. If not treated early, MRSA can lead to pneumonia, bloodstream, or bone infections that can prove serious and sometimes deadly.
According to the Mayo Clinic, MRSA is caused by the Staphylococcus aureus bacteria, or staph, and is a strain that is now resistant to broad-spectrum antibiotics. The Mayo Clinic also points out that the majority of MRSA infections originate in hospitals or other health care settings (health care-associated MRSA, or HA-MRSA). However, another type of MRSA has been emerging outside of health care settings (community-associated MRSA, or CA-MRSA) that includes serious skin and soft tissue infections and a serious form of pneumonia.
"A great many students here participate in athletics," Donelan told Newsday.com. "There are opportunities for skin-to-skin contact with other athletes, and the opportunity for nicks and scrapes and turf burns. So it's important for all the athletes to understand the importance of taking a shower and changing into clean clothes."
Nachman referred to some recent studies, discussing how MRSA has become more potent, but said that nothing points to the Stony Brook cases being part of the more powerful strains, said Newsday.com.
Last November, Stony Brook University offered a free public information forum on MRSA. The forum was held in response to a Journal of the American Medical Association article released just prior that stated that MRSA was present in 32 invasive infections per 100,000 people.