Deadly Staph Infection

In January, ABC's Primetime Live news program aired a story about a super bug called MRSA. MRSA was responsible for the death of a young college football player. Some Primetime viewers called us here at the station after the report and told us MRSA is a big problem right here in Nebraska.

It's a staph infection that's resistant to common anti-biotics, so we investigated.

Staphylococcus Areus is a common bacteria. Many people naturally carry it in their throats, or under their finger nails. It can cause a mild infection in a healthy person. But now doctors around the world are battling a new strain of staph. They say it's more deadly, is resistant to several antibiotics and you don't even need a cut to get it. They looked like a typical boil. They started off kind of red, and sore and itchy, and then they got harder and harder. Over the holiday's Cindi Lamm noticed she had an underarm cyst that turned into a boil. At first she shrugged it off, thought it was a spider bite. Then that boil started spreading to her stomach. That's when Cindi knew something wasn't quiet right, and needed to see a doctor. The diagnosis? MRSA, or what's also known as Methcyllian resistant Staphloccus Areus. A strain of staph that can be deadly. It moves very fast and it can get in through the blood stream. It can cause infection of the heart valves and it can be very serious.

Doctor Tom Safranek is the state's epedemoglogist. He's been studying staph infections for years. These infections are usually treated with penicllan, or other common antibotics. MRSA is what's concerning doctors. It's resistant to common antibotics and it doesn't need a scratch or cut to enter the body. It gets in through skin contact by touching contaminated objects like doorknobs, or other sufraces.

Last year more than 6-thousand people tested positive for MRSA in the state of Nebraska. Staph was once mainly confined to hospitals, but MRSA is moving outside of hospitals and is spreading in health clubs, locker rooms, dorm rooms. And this is concering doctors. It's harder for them to guess correctly and find an antibotic to put that person on. Dr. Safrenck says the reason for this new strain is mainly to blame for people overusing antibiotics. And he fears in coming years antibotic resistant infections will continue to evolve.

For more information about MRSA click here at www.cdc.gov/ncidod/hip/aresist/ca_mrsa_public.htm