Don’t Panic About MRSA, Doctors Say


Tuesday, November 6th 2007, 4:45 pm
By: News On 6


Doctors tell parents not to panic about MRSA. Thirteen cases of the drug-resistant staph infection have been reported in the past week in Green Country schools. The News On 6’s Chris Wright reports doctors say MRSA itself is nothing new, although it has appeared more frequently in public places like schools in recent years.

Dr. Jason Lepak of St. John Health System says all the recent attention paid to MRSA has been a little over the top.

"There's just getting to be this great public awareness about that, which is important, but I also think they're starting to get a little bit of panic in the community, which is a little bit startling," Dr. Jason Lepak of St. John Health System said.

Over at Hillcrest, Dr. Steven Landgarten echoes those sentiments.

"Let's not get hysterical about methicillin resistant staph. All human beings have staph aureus on their skin, we've been getting infections from staph aureus for hundreds of thousands of years," Hillcrest Medical Director Dr. Steven Landgarten said.

The doctors say while MRSA has always been an issue in hospitals, it is now popping up more often in the community, particularly schools. Still, they say the recent cases in and around Tulsa should not worry parents, as long as their kids wash their hands.

Dr. Lepak believes the schools' efforts to decontaminate classrooms, hallways and doors may even be unnecessary.

"Decontaminating a whole school, I don't think that's particularly likely a benefit,” said Dr. Lepak. “It's probably a bit overkill."

Both doctors stress that almost all MRSA cases are treatable, and the infection is rarely fatal. Still, they blame their own profession for the development of the drug resistant infection. They say the over prescription of antibiotics is responsible for it, and avoiding them may help you avoid MRSA.

"Don't demand antibiotics from your doctor for diseases that don't require antibiotics,” Dr. Steven Landgarten said. “Your cold is going to get better in seven days without antibiotics."

The doctors we spoke to also say that anti-bacterial soap may be contributing to the MRSA problem. Over using that soap can make the staph on your skin resistant to antibiotics as well.

Watch the video: Health Professionals Discuss MRSA

WEB EXTRA: Dr. Steven Landgarten Discusses MRSA

To learn more about MRSA, including symptoms, treatment and prevention, visit the MRSA section of kotv.com.