NORCROSS, Ga. -- Once almost exclusively confined to hospital settings, drug-resistant staph infections, such as Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), are increasingly finding their way right through the front doors of homes across America. Known as community-acquired MRSA (CA-MRSA), this strain of staph infection is found in individuals who have not been hospitalized or undergone a medical procedure within the past 12 months.(1) Outbreaks of CA-MRSA have been documented for more than 20 years(2), but recent reports indicate infections from this strain of staph are on the rise. MRSA and Staphylococcus aureus, in general, are germs that live on the skin of healthy people and spread from person to person on contaminated hands, skin and surfaces. It has the potential to become serious when it enters the body through scrapes and scratches potentially leading to blood and joint infections, pneumonia, and even death.
"We're definitely hearing more reported MRSA cases in the community, especially among active, healthy, young people," said Carolyn Twomey, RN, vice president of clinical and technical affairs for Molnlycke Health Care U.S. "Unfortunately, the spread of this type of MRSA stems, in large part, from individuals sharing close quarters and coming in contact with contaminated objects -- conditions we often see in schools, day cares, and locker rooms. It's easy to see how MRSA is now making its way into American households."
MRSA can survive for prolonged periods of time on common objects and surfaces, increasing the chances of cross-contamination and allowing it to be easily passed on to friends and family members. For example, MRSA can live for nine weeks on a towel; 14 days on laminated surfaces; six months on dust; 56 days on a mop head; and nine weeks on cotton.(3)
A key to prevention of a MRSA infection is keeping hands clean to reduce the risk of cross-contamination. However, many of the products used by consumers do not contain pharmaceutical-quality, antimicrobial agents with residual activity like chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG) found in cleansers such as Hibiclens(R), according to Twomey.
Residual activity works when the antimicrobial bonds with the skin to prevent recontamination. For hand cleansers, this means the antimicrobial continues to kill germs for a period of time after washing. Alcohol is a common hand antiseptic and is extremely effective for immediate kill. However, when alcohol dries, the germ-killing action stops. The next contaminated object touched will recontaminate the hand.
And, for those instances when regular hand washing is not an option, Molnlycke offers consumers convenient Hibistat(R) Germicidal Towelettes that kill MRSA on contact and provide up to six hours of ongoing protection.
Containing CHG, Hibistat has been proven to provide fast-acting, antimicrobial protection on contact. It kills a broad spectrum of harmful organisms, continuing to fight germs much longer than soap and water or isopropyl alcohol alone. Hibistat Towelettes work without water and contain a quick-drying formula with added emollients, making them safe for frequent daily use.
"Hibistat Towelettes are perfect for today's active and mobile society," Twomey said. "They serve as a portable defense that you can carry and use when a sink and water are not readily available. They're ideal for use away from home to help keep MRSA and other germs from making it to your doorstep in the first place."
Hibistat Towelettes and Hibiclens are available in the first aid sections at chain drug stores and pharmacies located in discount retailers.
1. Bell, Edward A. Antibiotic choices for CA-MRSA infections. Infectious Disease News. March 2007.
2. Bell, Edward A. Treatment options exist for CA-MRSA infection. Infectious Disease News. November 2005.
3. Journal of Infection Control (2001) 49:255-261.
Source: Molnlycke Health Care U.S., LLC