The Commonwealth Medical College will host a one day symposium on infectious diseases on Saturday, April 5, 2014 from 8 am to 12 noon.
Location: TCMC 525 Pine Street, Scranton, PA
For more information contact: JoAnn Babish, 570-207-3686 or visit www.thecommonwealthmedical.com/keystone
Health & Exercise Forum will dedicate the next three weeks to columns related to infectious diseases to raise the level of awareness in NEPA.
“Superbugs” are drug-resistant bacteria affecting more than 90,000 Americans each year. However, it is important to recognize the fact that these infections do not only affect weak and hospitalized but also young, healthy athletes. In fact, there is a serious concern by medical professionals about the significant rise in cases of antibiotic resistant bacterial infections among the community at large including athletes. This dreaded bacterium is called Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA).
Recently, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), reported cases throughout the country among high school, college and professional athletes. While more common in contact sports such as football and wrestling, other athletes in non-contact sports such as fencing, have been infected in large numbers.
The CDC reports that MRSA is spread in many different ways including contact associated with sports. The bacteria can be spread by direct contact with infected persons or indirect contact through shared towels, clothing or equipment. Normally benign cuts or scrapes can put an athlete at great risk.
The CDC does not feel that this is a temporary problem or fluke. The numbers continue to rise among athletes. In fact, every medical team in the National Football League was notified about MRSA by the CDC. The CDC feels that this trend is directly related to the growing use of antibiotics and an increase in resistance to them.
According to Mark Frattali, MD, a local otolaryngologist, in addition to those with weak immune systems, he has seen a significant number of young healthy individuals such as construction workers and high school soccer and football players, who have contracted MRSA.
While most MRSA infections are not fatal, some can be life-threatening. Also, health experts have great concern about the rapid spread of the stubborn and resistant bacterium. But, it is important to keep in mind that in the vast majority of cases, MRSA is treated with success. Some antibiotics can still work well and are often given intravenously at first and followed by oral medicine.
The primary cause of the spread of MRSA is contact. Prevention involves avoiding and combating contact. The CDC state that MRSA is spread by: close skin-to-skin contact, cuts, abrasions, contaminated clothes and equipment, crowded living conditions, and poor hygiene
SOURCES: Mark Fratalli, MD, WebMD, Centers for Disease Control: www.cdc.gov
Visit your doctor regularly and listen to your body.
NEXT MONDAY – Read Dr. Paul J. Mackarey “Health & Exercise Forum” in the Scranton Times-Tribune. This article is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. If you have questions related to your medical condition, please contact your family physician. For further inquires related to this topic email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Paul J. Mackarey PT, DHSc, OCS is a Doctor in Health Sciences specializing in orthopaedic and sports physical therapy. Dr. Mackarey is in private practice and is an associate professor of clinical medicine at The Commonwealth Medical College.