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Three Farwell children hospitalized with “superbug”

By Pat Maurer
Correspondent

Three cases of MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) nearby have a Farwell grandfather very concerned.

Michael Methner of Farwell says he just wants people to know about this dangerous infection, what to look for and maybe help prevent someone else from going through wat they are facing.

He said his six-year-old granddaughter is fighting a serious MRSA infection at the University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor.

“She has been in the hospital for two weeks with an infection mostly in her leg,” Methner said.

He said she is not the only one fighting this resistant “Superbug” from the Farwell area. “An Amish neighbor’s son, who broke his foot, developed MRSA too and has been hospitalized in Grand Rapids,” he said.

He said there is another child from the Farwell area being treated for MRSA at Ann Arbor also. “They are all from within a few miles of here,” he said.

Methner’s granddaughter also had “a lot of mosquito bites,” he said, “and she is allergic to mosquito bites. I don’t know if that has anything to do with her infection.” His granddaughter Kiley is one of three children in his son’s family.

He said Kiley was being treated for a sprained ankle, but kept complaining of pain in her leg. When she developed a fever, she was taken to Urgent Care. From there it was a trip to the hospital in Clare, then a transfer to Covenant and from there she was sent to the U of M Hospital in Ann Arbor for treatment. “It took a week before they knew it was MRSA,” he said.

“She is on a full course of antibiotics and has a drain tube in her leg,” Methner said. “The infection went right to the bone. It’s been very painful for her.” He said the CDC (Center for Disease Control) is involved with the case.

“Everyone needs to be aware of this,” he said.

“MRSA can be very serious,” said Dr. Robert Graham, Medical Director of the Central Michigan Health Department, “especially for people who are dealing with weakened immune systems, diabetes or other health issues too.” He said there are two kinds of MRSA, healthcare associated and community associated.

The CDC says people at risk include young children and the elderly, college students, and prison population.  This might include athletes, daycare and school students, military personnel in barracks, and people who recently received inpatient medical care.

MRSA began as a hospital-acquired infection, but has developed limited endemic status and is now sometimes community-acquired. The terms HA-MRSA (healthcare-associated MRSA) and CA-MRSA (community-associated MRSA) reflect this distinction, according to the website.

MRSA is a bacterium responsible for several difficult-to-treat infections in humans. It is also called oxacillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (ORSA), which has developed a resistant to beta-lactam antibiotics, which include the penicillins, and the cephalosporins

According to the CDC website, in the community MRSA can cause skin and other types of infections through direct contact with an infected wound or by sharing personal items that have touched an infected area.

Studies show that about one in three people carry staph in their nose, usually without any illness. Two in 100 people carry MRSA, the site said.

The symptoms sometimes look like a spider bite or a bump or infected area on the skin that might be red, swollen, painful, warm to the touch, full of pus or other drainage and accompanied by a fever.

To reduce the risk of contracting MRSA, the CDC stresses good hygiene. Wash hand often especially after exercise, and keep cuts, scrapes and wounds covered and clean until healed. Avoid sharing personal items like towels and razors and get care early if you think you may have an infection. It is especially important to contact your doctor if signs and symptoms of an MRSA skin infection are accompanied by a fever.

Do not rub, pick or pop sores, the site said. Cover with a clean dry bandage until you can be seen by a medical professional. Wash sheets and towels and clothes with detergent and dry completely in a dryer.

Visit CDC.gov for more information.

Methner reported Wednesday that Kiley is still undergoing treatment and may need a second surgical treatment to flush out the infection. “They are still fighting the fever,” he said. “I just want to stress how important it is to have someone who might have this see their doctor right away. I want to help other families who might have to go through the same thing we are going through. It has been hard for everyone in the family, especially Kiley.”

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