PALESTINE, Ark. (AP) - Classes resumed Wednesday in the Palestine-Wheatley School District after a day of disinfecting the district's three schools, following a student's hospitalization with a staph infectionMore >>
Over the past several weeks, cases of a drug resistant staph infection known as MRSA were confirmed at Hernando Elementary School, at a Sumner County elementary school in Middle Tennessee and in ObionMore >>
(NBC Newschannel) - Doctors and scientists are concerned about the recent rise in Staph infections. Researchers found in a recent study that hospital visits for Staph infections rose 62% between 1999 and 2005.
Cases of MRSA, a "Superbug" resistant to many antibiotics more than doubled.
"MRSA is out of control - its a large problem and its growing rapidly," says Staph Infection Study Author Ramanan Laxminarayan, PH.D., M.P.H.
The problem is not only in hospitals, but also in the community.
Schools across the country have closed recently after students like 11-year-old Shae Kiernan died.
"She was laying on the ground saying, 'I don't feel good, I don't feel good,' and that's the last time I talked to her," said Betty Jackson, a friend of Kiernan.
Hospital outbreaks are concerning.
Researchers suggest that when hospital budgets are tight, expensive infection control programs are often the first thing cut.
"There's often not enough that hospitals can do to control infections within their own walls unless all the other hospitals are doing the same thing. But nobody wants to be doing this on their own," says Dr. Ramanan Laxminarayan.
Maryland Representative Elijah Cummings is sponsoring a bill that would require hospitals to report MRSA.
The bill also mandates a study considering the use of financial incentives and public disclosure for those with the lowest infection rates.
"If a hospital has a huge number or disproportionate number of infections per patient, and somebody compares that to another hospital that is doing much better, you can bet your bottom dollar they're going to go to the hospital who has the better record," says Democrat Representative Elijah Cummings, Maryland.
One estimate puts U.S. MRSA deaths at 18,000.
That’s more people than die every year in this country from aids.