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MRSA Exposure

My parents were here watching our son last week as the preschool was closed. My mom found a lump under her arm on the next to last day they were here. She went to the Dr. as soon as they were back home. They did surgery on her and after a week of waiting for lab results we found out she had MRSA. Is there anything I should do in regards to our son. Could he have caught it from her? What should I look for? I appreciate your help.

MRSA or methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus (basically multi-drug resistant staphylococcus) is unfortunately increasingly common. 10 years ago, patients with MRSA were questioned about links to local hospitals and we would try to eradicate it from the family. Today, we recognize that MRSA is common, usually community acquired and impossible to eradicate. MRSA is now the most common cause of abscesses in my practice.

I agree your son likely came in contact with MRSA, but he needs no special care at this time. He could carry MRSA on his body for several months and never have any symptoms. I would recommend an antibacterial soap, lotion for any dry skin issues and close monitoring of his skin. While MRSA can cause other types of infections (like ear infections), it usually shows up as skin abscesses. These usually begin looking like mosquito bites and then grow. They become painful, firm and will develop a “head” if given time. Take him to your doctor if you notice any symptoms develop.

When the abscess was drained it sounds like the doctors ordered “antibiotic sensitivities”. This is when abscess pus is sent to lab. In the lab, they test the organism to identify it and to see which antibiotics work best. If your son does acquire MRSA, his infection will likely respond to the same antibiotics that helped his grandmother.

There are still a few oral (by mouth) antibiotics that are able to treat MRSA. As these antibiotics are increasingly used, MRSA will likely become resistant to them as well. To prevent this tide of resistance, health care providers should prescribe antibiotics only when needed.

His grandmother will likely carry MRSA for months (average 18 to 24 months) after her antibiotic therapy. During this time she will be at increased risk for further abscesses. Healthy people with healthy intact skin should not be afraid to come in contact with people with a history of MRSA infections. They should avoid contact with actively infected areas and practice good hand washing/hygiene techniques. Bottom line : It is fine for your son to visit his grandmother.



Written September, 2010 by
Dr. Gordon, Orlando Pediatrician






gregorygordonmd.com is intended to help parents understand the needs and behaviors of children. The information presented in the site is the opinion of Gregory Gordon, M.D.and does not reflect the opinion of his partners. This website is owned exclusively by Doctors insights LLC. The advice in this site does not apply to all children. Always consult your healthcare provider for your individual needs.

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