Wednesday, 01 February 2023

Health officer: Drug-resistant staph nothing new in county

LAKE COUNTY – A staph infection that's resistant to certain types of antibiotics has lately been the source for a lot of anxiety across the country.


However, Lake County Public Health Officer Dr. Craig McMillan says the infection is nothing new, and is confident that local doctors have the knowledge to deal with it when it appears.


McMillan said Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is everywhere, literally in every county across the state, including Lake County.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that MRSA is resistant to common antibiotics including methicillin, oxacillin, penicillin and amoxicillin.


The infection is found most frequently among people with weakened immune systems who are often in hospitals and facilities such as nursing homes, according to the CDC.


A fact sheet from the Journal of the American Medical Association (AMA) stated that 85 percent of all MRSA cases are related to exposures to health care delivery.


Health care facilities aren't the only places where MRSA is found, said McMillan; jails around the state also are having a constant problem.


The AMA also reported that the estimated number of people who developed a serious, invasive MRSA infection in 2006 was 94,360; among those, 18,650 people died during a hospital stay related to these serious MRSA infections.


McMillan said MRSA has been found in Lake County, where there have been as many as 100 cases over the last two years. “And those are just the ones they choose to report to us.”


There could be more cases that have occurred locally, said McMillan, because MRSA is not a disease that must be reported to local health officials.


McMillan noted that MRSA cases are not appearing in “extraordinary numbers” in Lake County.


He said local health care providers are very knowledgeable about MRSA, and hospitals pay a lot of attention to it. A state expert on MRSA spoke on the topic to local doctors and nurses at a June continuing education session, and Sutter Lakeside Hospital held a training for Lakeport Unified School District.


There is some good news when it comes to fighting MRSA, said McMillan.


Some antibiotics can help control MRSA, he said. In fact, a sulpha-type antibiotic works very well in controlling MRSA, working 99 percent of the time.


Strains of MRSA resistant to all antibiotics are rare, he added.


For more information about MRSA, visit the CDC online at www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dhqp/ar_mrsa.html.


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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