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Why is the military at increased risk?


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Superbug at Canada's doorstep
Last Updated: Tuesday, January 2, 2007 | 12:16 PM ET
CBC News

A superbug that is popping up in locker rooms and day cares in the U.S. is poised to "emerge in force" in Canada, doctors warn.

Community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or CA-MRSA, was previously confined to hospitals but epidemics are occurring in the U.S. and it's making inroads in Canada, according to a commentary published Tuesday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

The bacteria cause large boil-like infections, and can cause hemorrhagic pneumonia or flesh-eating disease in rare cases.

The organism is an "old foe with new fangs: a pathogen combining virulence, resistance and an ability to disseminate at large," Dr. John Conly, an infectious disease specialist and professor of medicine at the University of Calgary and his colleagues wrote.

New Canadian guidelines for health-care workers are meant to prevent and manage the problem, the study's authors said.

In the U.S., clusters of infections have been reported among professional baseball and football players, and toddlers in day care.
Continue Article

So far in Canada, outbreaks have occurred in B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario, with infections reported in Toronto, Montreal and Quebec City.

Two fatalities in Canada have also been linked to the germ: a healthy 30-year-old Calgary man and a three-month-old infant in Toronto in 2005. The deaths resulted from necrotizing pneumonia, or lung abscesses, the commentators said.

"We don't understand a whole lot," said Shirley Paton, an infectious disease expert at the Public Health Agency of Canada, where studies aim to help answer the questions, "Why now, why here, why outside the hospital?"
Prevention tips

To prevent cases, the authors suggest emphasizing hygiene at day-care centres and schools, such as:

    * Washing hands or using alcohol gels.
    * Keeping kids at home if a draining wound cannot be consistently covered.
    * Practising respiratory etiquette like covering coughs.

Athletes, particularly those participating in contact sports, are also at risk, and should also practise hygiene such as showering after every practice or game, cleaning common bathing areas frequently, and regularly cleaning equipment.

Doctors and veterinarians should also keep in mind that pets may act as a reservoir for infections.

Traditional risk groups include intravenous drug users, the homeless, First Nations, the military, people infected with HIV and prison inmates.

Two years ago, Christine Besson and her father founded the Montreal-based Association to Defend Victims of Nosocomial [originating in hospital] Infections after he was infected with MRSA.

"The minute we saw that it was starting in the States, we knew at one point it was going to go through the border," she said. "Bacteria are more dangerous than terrorists," because people carry them without knowing it.

Infectious disease experts do not want to sensationalize cases of CA-MRSA, but stress the simple preventive steps may help. So far, CA-MRSA is resistant to some antibiotics but not as many as strains in hospitals.


Trinity said:
close quarter communial living and working  (IMO)

This is seen in other places that have such conditions, like schools or workplaces. It is common for diseases to spread more rapidly in these conditions, thus increasing the risk of those in them. An example is that the spread of the Spanish Flu (1918-1919) was hastened by the mass concentration and movements of troops. This would also make the use of biological weapons more deadly, as the disease could be spread to many others before any signs or symptoms become noticeable.
I don't know where the CBC got their info but I work in a  Nursing home and numerous residents have MRSA and there are no boils or flesh eruptions etc. The MRSA is usually in the nares, groins or around a feeding tube site. We were educated on this time and again and there was no mention on what the CBC stated. Makes me want to question the Dept. of Health here in N.S. We were told that many of the staff probably have it and don't know it as there are no signs or symptoms. You have to be swabed to get a diagnosis.You are then antibiotic resistant. We were also told that it will be wide spread as it is so very contagious.Can anyone shed some light on this?
I read a lengthly article on CA-MRSA a couple of years ago in "Men's Health" magazine.  The bacteria flourishes in warm, moist and heavily utilised environments.  These would be the conditions found in gyms locker rooms, changerooms, barracks ablution areas, field ablution areas, MLBUs etc.  I no longer have this magazine, as I long ago donated it to our gym reading rack, but I recall it's tone to be far less alarmist than this piece.  It did stress that good personal hygeine, including wearing clean PT kit, shower sandals, and using a clean towel every day are big preventative factors.
Yes, The bacteria flourishes in warm moist places but the places are on the body not in gym rooms etc. It doesn't live on clothing etc. It does if you had it in the nares and you blew your nose...the tissue would be comtaminated or on the groins.......