“No MRSA emergency alert” clarifies Dr. Maru
APIA: Thursday 19 April 2012: Dr. Francis Maru of the National Health Services has denied reports that the “super bacteria” Mecillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) has reached an emergency alert level.
He told Talamua this afternoon that it was too early to predict the status of MRSA and insists on calm and for people not to panic.
He also clarified the confusion over the non-availability of antibiotics to combat the bacteria. He said there is medicine available but they have to check with local pharmacies if the antibiotic is available on their shelves.
He could not comment further on the data and the numbers of people tested until after meeting with the NHS task force today.
The data refers to two babies who died at the National Hospital suspected of MRSA and various reports that medical staff have been infected prompting major clean ups at the National Hospital up to this week.
Police also report that there has been a major clean up at the Tafaigata Prison this week after two prisoners and a warden were hospitalized but connection to MRSA have yet to be confirmed.
A (medical) representative of the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Apia, told Talamua this morning that MRSA is in the “emergency stages now” but not an outbreak as feared by many.
The WHO Resident Representative was not available to comment but Dr. Asaua of the same agency confirmed that WHO and the Ministry of Health discussed the situation of MRSA during their weekly health discussions last week and WHO is standing by to offer any assistance needed by the Ministry against the bacteria.
Dr. Asaua said that WHO is always ready to offer assistance in any situation, however, so far MOH has not asked for assistance and Dr. Asaua assumed that the Ministry has the situation under control.
Dr. Asaua says MRSA has been in Samoa for many many years and she supports the National Health Services (NHS) view that there are more carriers of the bacteria than those infected. However, the number infected is increasing rapidly and is a concern to the community.
Dr. Maru of the National Health Services confirmed that the bacteria is resistant to antibiotics and there is only one antibiotic capable of defeating the bacteria. However, the supply of this antibiotic is limited and very expensive.
The bacteria lives on the skin and people are vulnerable to the bacteria once there’s a cut or boil on the body.
Dr. Asaua said that one of the contributing factors to MRSA and the widespread of other virus, is the “attitude of people towards their health.” People takie “shortcuts” not realising the danger in the long run. This is particularly in the time-frame to take prescribed medication.
“People tend to stop taking medicine ignoring the instructions once they get better while others tended to take medicines not prescribed for them.”
The National Health Service is emphasising cleanliness, personal hygiene and healthy living as the best protection against the bacteria.