Stories about: Thomas Sandora

MRSA, microbes and medicines: what parents need to know on World MRSA Day

MRSA
methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

The discovery of penicillin in 1928 marked the beginning of the antibiotic era and dramatic improvements in health and medicine. With mass production of the new “wonder drug” in the 1940’s, threats from killer diseases, such as bacterial infections and pneumonia, waned. However, less than 100 years later, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has sounded the alarm about the possibility of a post-antibiotic era.

That’s due to the growing menace of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, or bacteria that have developed resistance to the drugs that once killed them.

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Are you worried about the MERS Virus? Get the facts first…

You may have seen some pretty scary headlines in recent days relating to a new virus that has the medical community on alert. Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) is a viral respiratory illness that can be passed between people in close contact. The condition was first reported in 2012 in Saudi Arabia, and so far most of those who have been infected have been from that region of the world.

People with MERS develop severe acute respiratory illness, presenting symptoms like fever, coughing and shortness of breath. And while there have been deaths associated with the disease, many have been older men with pre-existing health conditions. However, other cases have been reported where the patient experienced just mild respiratory illness.

While MERS is not the same as the SARS virus, it has similar attributes, including how it is transmitted. Since its discovery, doctors have seen transmission from people in close contact to each other, including patients infecting health-care workers. Clusters of cases in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the U.K., France, Tunisia and Italy all have been reported and are being closely watched by the World Health Organization (WHO).

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