MRSA Survivors Network calls for political action

The Chicago-based methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) Survivors Network said on Wednesday that MRSA and antibiotic resistance must be a top political priority.

Antibiotic resistance continues to grow with the use of antibiotics in animals and humans, the Network said.

"How can we ever hope to control an Ebola or SARS outbreak in the United States when we have not controlled MRSA and other healthcare-acquired infections (HAI) for decades?" Jeanine Thomas, the founder of the MRSA Survivors Network, said. "The answer is we won't."

The Network also questioned why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not followed the lead of other countries in using active detection and isolation (ADI) to control MRSA.

"In the 1980s, guidelines in northern European countries such as the Netherlands and in Western Australia began to specify routine use of ADI for controlling MRSA infections," Barry Farr, a professor emeritus at the University of Virginia, said. "Over the next couple of decades, MRSA infections were controlled to exceedingly low levels in Northern European countries and in the state of Western Australia. Meanwhile, MRSA infection rates rose progressively in American hospitals."

The MRSA Survivors Network said a comprehensive approach that includes ADI, strict adherence to hand hygiene, good antibiotic stewardship and decontamination of environments is critical to reducing hospital-acquired infections.