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Reports of MRSA Infections Need Perspective

By Kelley Weiss

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/kcur/local-kcur-643144.mp3

Kansas City, MO – Missouri health officials say some media reports of recent staph infections were taken out of context. KCUR's Kelley Weiss reports.

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A Missouri health department epidemiologist, Eddie Hedrick, says to start with the MSRA infection got the wrong label.

Eddie Hedrick: "We've unfortunately termed this bug a 'super bug' and it's really not."

Hedrick says there are two strains of MRSA infections - one hospital patients get and one that's community acquired. He says the recent cases in the news are community based, resistant to a few antibiotics but can still be treated. It's the hospital acquired MRSA that's resistant to almost all antibiotics.

Hedrick says media coverage of a recent CDC report highlighting MRSA in hospitals and a Virginia high school student death from the infection were not related. He says MRSA has been around for at least 25 years and is treatable.

Eddie Hedrick: "If you go looking and you ask people hey have you had anybody here that's had the staph infection, of course they have."

The concern about the community-MRSA, Hedrick says, is that around 2002 it stopped responding to penicillin based drugs.

Funding for health care coverage on KCUR has been provided by the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City.

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