I was surprised to read that the hysteria about MRSA continues…It was in Parade Magazine today, from which I expect unbridled hyperbole, but I was chagrined to see that it occurred on the Discover Magazine Blogs. MRSA has been around for years, and yes it has killed people for years. And, yes, it is getting worse – in the sense of more infections as well as in the sense of spreading to the community. But the level of general misconception is surprising – the inflation of numbers and the damning of the medical community for "ignoring it". I particularly liked the one comment that talks about sulfonamide antibiotics "rarely being used anymore because everybody's allergic to them." The commenter "barely tolerated being on them long enough" to cure his CA-MRSA infection. I can't find any data right now on trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (the most commonly prescribed sulfonamide drug), but I certainly use it (when indicated) frequently.
The one thing (handily de-emphasized in the Parade coverage) I wish we could get everyone to remember is that inappropriate antibiotic use – both inappropriate prescribing by physicians and inappropriate demanding by patients – led directly to this problem. The primary solution, therefore, is to constrain our use of antibiotics as much as possible…now that we're in cold and flu season we are truly put to that test.