Tuesday, October 16, 2007

MRSA kills Virginia teen

It used to be that MRSA, or methicillin resistant staph aureus, a bacteria, was the rarely even seen. It was talked about as a hospital acquired illness and patients were usually elderly with many complicating medical problems. Unfortunately, now, it's being seen more and more commonly. (image credit)

The Associated Press is reporting that Ashton Bonds, a 17 year old Virginia high school student, died yesterday after being diagnosed with MRSA last week. Officials closed down 21 schools for cleaning to prevent spread of the bacteria.
Many of the infections are being spread in gyms and locker rooms, where athletes — perhaps suffering from cuts or abrasions — share sports equipment. Ashton Bonds played football last year but was not playing this season.

Ashton went to Bedford Memorial Hospital on Oct. 4 after complaining of pain in his side, his mother said. He was sent home after doctors ruled out appendicitis, but was readmitted three days later and transported to Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital.

Last week doctors diagnosed Ashton with a MRSA infection that had spread to his kidneys, liver, lungs and the muscles around his heart.

Early Thursday morning, Ashton had to be sedated and put on a ventilator. He was about to undergo surgery to drain the infection from his lungs when doctors detected a blood clot near his heart. Bonds said the clot was inoperable.
In my community, of course, we're not having tragic outcomes like this one. But, when looking at emergency room visits, community acquired MRSA infections are becoming more and more common. Almost every patient coming from a nursing home to the ER with an infection is assumed to have MRSA until proven otherwise.

This is becoming a major problem. MRSA is no longer a problem of the big cities and big university hospitals. It's occurring more and more in grassroots America. So, next time you have an infection that's not going away, don't ignore it - Have it checked out...


twilite said...

Hi Dr A. Thanks for the alert...on MRSA. It's scary though. Good day.

OHN said...

MRSA has affected my family directly. Hubby went in for routine arthroscopic repair of an ACL, came out of OR sutured, and wrapped. The day we were told to unwrap, I took one look and new it wasn't supposed to look like that. Hot, nasty, red, oozing, so off we went for a C&S. MRSA. What nobody could (or would admit to) figure out is how he got it if he came from the OR already wrapped. It had to be in there which was really scary. A few weeks later after IV therapy at home and healing with secondary intention (with me playing packing nurse-eww) and a couple of allergic reactions to meds (Vanco was the only thing he could tolerate and it worked thankfully) he is back up and moving around minus the hardware that had to be removed because of the MRSA. So, basically he had all of that for nothing because the knee still isn't repaired. MRSA=scary stuff.

Vinny "Bond" Marini said...

MRSA.. I had a friend in college who had some sort of thing that was never diagnosed...he is fine now..and a co-worker who also had this type of thing and to be honest I do not know if this was the problem but he lost 3 years of his life to being in and out of the hospital...

Anonymous said...

My family has had MRSA. We assume we got it from my daughter who does direct care for handicapped people and one of the patients there did have it. It is very difficult to get rid of. We would do a round of antibiotics and would get it again and have to start all over again. The antibiotics were not pleasant because they were really strong. My daughter is 21 so she wouldnt go with us everytime that we went to get "clean". My daughter is now having some health problems. Pain in her side and back and blood in her urine. The Drs are doing tests for gallbladder. The sonogram was ok. They will do a Hydascan on Monday. But after reading about the teenager who passed away with pain in his side of MRSA, I am freaking out a little.

Anonymous said...

My father was diagnosed with MRSA in 2003 and then died shortly thereafter from complications. You must be your own health advocate - You have the right to expect all health care providers to wash their hands before they approach you. Every hospital has infection control practitioners on staff who are supposed to answer questions and assist you. The number one way people acquire MRSA in hospital settings is hand to hand transmission. The CDC won't admit this, your hospital won't admit this, but it is the truth. The number one way to stay safe in the hospital is to make sure providers know that you know what they are supposed to do. Do not be afraid to ask or insist if necessary. My dad suffered horribly at the hands of the hospital system and this can happen to anyone, not just the elderly or medically complex. Also, some health care providers blame community acquired MRSA and hospital acquired MRSA on overuse of antibiotics or (as was the case with the chief medical officer for the health care system we dealt with) "you really can't do much about it." Studies in Europe and in Pennsylvania have shown that MRSA can be all but eliminated. If you want to learn more, visit Consumers' Union's website. Thanks for this opportunity to share. Be a smart patient and you will be alive to tell about it.

Anonymous said...

I agree that you have to be the health advocate for yourself and family. My 7 year old daughter has had 4 bouts with MRSA in the past 5 months. My daughter has nasal allergies and is constantly rubbing her nose. I have another 4 year old daughter who has never had MRSA, and they share a room, but go to different schools.
One day before school she complained that her nose was sore, and we told her not to rub it.
By the time I got her from school she had a fever and her nose was really swollen, and within just an hour the swelling began to spread up and outward. I took her to emergency and they were alarmed and gave her 2 painful shots in her thighs containing antibiotics, drew blood, and started her on antibiotics. They did not know it was MRSA.
By the next morning she had gotten worse where the swelling and redness spread around her eye. Her nose began to ooze blood. The eyedoctor determined that her eye was not infected yet, but took a sample of the blood from her nose and 24 hours it came back as MRSA.
I called her pediatrician and told her that it was MRSA and she was not convinced since MRSA lives in the human nose. I told her that my daughter was worse, so the Dr. ordered new antibiotics, and it seemed to do the trick.
Relapse occured within 2 weeks after her antibiotics so my daughter never returned to school since it was right before Summer Break. Same infection site, on the nose, then this time spread to her cheek and jaw. It was extremely swollen that she could barely move her mouth to talk.
This time they put her on bactrum and it seemed to do the trick.
Then 3 months later into the new school year, she had a pimple on her chest that I cleaned and covered with a bandaid. That became infected and drained within a day and a half, then took her temperature, she had a fever, and her nose began to swell again.
They put her on Bactrum again, this time 4 tsp. and saw only some improvement but after 5 days she still had a slight fever and then one hand began to swell and was hot to the touch.
Back to the E.R. and they were not sure if it was an allergic reaction to Bactrum or a new infection, though she should not have had any fever after mega doses of Bactrum for 5 days. So the put her on Zyvox for 2 more weeks and I was instructed to see the infectious disease specialist the next day. By the next day of being on Zyvox my daughter looked mostly better, only slight swelling of the hand and face, and the wound on her chest had healed, so the I.D. Dr. told us that she should only have to take the Zyvox for 7 days and to scrub her down with Hibiclens and use the Bactraban in her nose. I kept her on it for 10 days just in case.
Then within 2 weeks of being off the Zyvox she had another bout of MRSA. Last week when I picked up my daughter from school she told me that she had an "owie on the side of her wee-wee" that had been there for 2 days and that her nose hurts.
I found a pustule on her outer labia, and she also had a fever starting at 99.3, and her nostil was starting to swell. I took her back to the E.R. Within a few hours, her face began swelling on the same side as usually would. They started her on IV antibiotics, drew blood, and cultured her nose and her labia. I think with the early detection of this infection that saved her face from getting comletely swollen.
Lab results were: nostril came back positive for MRSA, and the labia came back as staph, and her blood looked good. They started her on Zyvox again, although the dr.s are not very familiar with dosing and gave her the wrong dosage, which I knew since she had been on it before (supposed to be 12.5 every 8 hours, they only prescribed 6ml every 12 hours) based on her weight.
The next day I took her back to a pediatrician for a check up and they took a new sample of her labia because it started to drain. It has been confirmed MRSA. They also corrected her dose.
Now that she is back on Zyvox, she is doing really well. I wash her from the neck down with Hibiclens (which you have to be careful with not to get in your eyes or ears) and put Bactraban on all her owies and bandaids, as well as Bactraban up her nose with a q-tip. We are trying to eraticate this.
I have informed the schools about my daughter's bouts with MRSA, both the office and the teacher, and initially no attention paid to it, mostly because prior to the recent news about it there was not much concern or knowlege about it. I have contacted my daughter's school, though I kept her home today until I got the all-clear from the I.D.S. Dr. and her pediatrician, yes she can return tomorrow. I let them know about the warning signs. Since I have become very observant of my daughter's nose and skin, and also because my daughter is old enough to tell me if something hurts, the recent 2 outbreaks were "nipped in the bud" in comparison to her first two life threatening outbreaks that she had. I truly feel that her first outbreak was so serious that it almost required hospitalization, and I felt like if they kept her on the wrong antibiotic for even one more day that she may not have survived, given that her infection was on her face near her brain.
I'm not sure if it is coincidence that her MRSA has only occured during the school year so far. But my daughter has informed me that the past week at school her class had been doing sit ups and pushups on the dirty cafeteria floor and were not given an opportunity to was their hands afterwards.
Also the past week recess has been in a different public park neighboring the school and the public bathroom they had to use was dirty, smelly, full of graffiti, and had no soap to wash hands. She also told me that they are not given any time after recess to wash their hands before starting on their school work. They do wash hands before lunch, though. I would like them to be more proactive, like my 4 year old's preschool is. At the preschool they wash hands all the time and show them the proper way to turn the water off with the paper towel then throwing the paper towel in the waste basket. With children they are in such close contact with eachother it is totally necessary.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

My daughter was diagnosed last night. she had the spot lanced but it still looks really awful. she is on Bactrim.

Anonymous said...

I work in the medical field and in 2007 I returned to work after being on maternity leave. Three weeks later I had what I thought was a spider bite on my right arm. After a week that arm was swollen nearly 2x the size of my other arm. Because I had no insurance and work for the county I saw a dr. at my work who diagnosed me with MRSA. I knew what this was and was very upset since I had a 6 week old baby at home. When I asked how this could happen when the only place I go is work and home she told me I got it working at the county clinic. She then said I was now a carrier and would be prone to these infections probably for the rest of my life. I spoke to my boss about filing this as a workers comp case since clearly I had gotten it while at work and was told MRSA is like getting the flu so I wouldn't be able to do that. Since then I have had two more MRSA infections the second occurring in the incision of my c-section when I had my 2nd son in 2009. The only thing that has worked for me is Bactrim and Rifampin together. Each time though I have some Dr. who insists on trying other medications first so the infection continues to get worse before they finally give me the antibiotics I ask for initially. I am now currently dealing with my third MRSA infection and have been out of work for over 8 days and have finally found an attorney to take on my workers comp case against the county. You have to be proactive about your own health care. The doctors will try to play it down but it is a serious issue and if left untreated can cause multiple problems and can lead to death. When I went to the doctor this last time I went early because I recognized the symptoms immediately. The dr gave me doxycycline. Two days later I was back in urgent care and it was worse than ever. The new dr who saw me decided to lance it and then started me on an IV of vancomycin and rocephin for 5 days and while the infection improved it was still bad. Finally on my last visit they stopped the IV meds and finally gave an oral RX for Bactrim, the medication I asked for the very first visit. It makes you wonder if the doctors even listen at all because this is now the 2nd time my doctors office has put me through this.