Within the past week we have learned that NY Giants football tight end Daniel Fells was hospitalized with an infection in his foot. He was diagnosed with having MRSA, or methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, which is a serious potentially life-threatening infection. MRSA is caused by the bacteria staphylococcus aureus and it is most commonly found on the skin and in the nasopharynx or the back of throat. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) has become the leading cause of healthcare associated infections since the 1970s while just as recently as the 1990s has it emerged as a of infection in the community setting. It has been suspected that the infection in Daniel Fells case came from the locker room or training rooms, but the source is still not definitive. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus is a type of bacterial infection that is resistant to certain antibiotics. Over the past several decades, MRSA has gone from being a controllable condition limited mostly to hospitals and healthcare facilities to a serious public health concern.
There are 2 major categories of infections with the transferring of a MRSA; it can come from community acquired infections (CA-MRSA), these infections of MRSA in patients who lack risk factors, can be linked with those in urban areas children in day care and prison inmates. Most infections manifest as skin and soft tissue infections or dermatological lesions. The second type of MRSA infections can occur by hospital acquired (H-MRSA) infections with MRSA, mostly from tobacco use and diabetes. In the hospital setting, patients that have been hospitalized for long-term care, have had surgery, have indwelling devices, have had dialysis, or have a history of MRSA are at greater risk of acquiring an infection. In the community (CA-MRSA) we can see spread through a wide range of activities, but usually occurring when in crowded or more densely populated areas. Some examples are playing sports that have close contact, in correctional facilities, daycares, individuals who have received tattoos.
MRSA and CA-MRSA are transmitted by direct contact with someone who has an active infection, someone who is a carrier, or a contaminated object. MRSA can occur in a few different ways, touching skin of a person who is already colonized or has an active infection, breathing droplets from a cough or sneeze of an infected individual, or even touching a contaminated surface. Some common contaminated surfaces in the hospital include bed side rails, blood pressure cuffs, toilet seats, and remote controls. Spread via contaminated surfaces is usually more commonly seen in CA-MRSA. These occur with the use of shared items, such as towels, bedding, and sports equipment.
Once infected, signs and symptoms do not usually have an immediate onset. It usually takes 1 to 10 days for symptoms to start. It will appear as a skin infection and is often mistaken for a spider bite. The site of infection usually appears red, swollen, warm, and painful. The infected sites are commonly at sites on that skin that have already encountered skin trauma. These sites allow the infection to adhere and colonize easier since the skin surface is exposed.
The treatment of MRSA depends on severity. In less severe cases, the patient will be placed on oral antibiotic treatment and if it doesn’t seem to be responding then the MRSA strain may be resistant to the antibiotic, or the infection may be more severe then it appears. In more severe cases of MRSA, the patient may be admitted to the hospital and started on IV antibiotics.
A podiatrist is the only person that is trained in a specialized field in medicine for anything concerning the lower extremity, foot and ankle, that’s why it is vital for you to visit your podiatrist if there are any problems concerning your feet. If there are any other questions feel free to contact Dr. Theall’s Gentle Touch Foot Care office for all your foot and ankle needs and concerns at 973 – 673 – 3668.