Governor M. Jodi Rell announced that the public hotline for callers who have questions about Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) has received over 170 calls as of 3:00 p.m. today.
Yesterday, the line received 275 calls.
“With about 450 phone calls in just two days, it is clear that there was a big demand for this hotline, and I am pleased to see that the public is getting answers to questions about MRSA,” Governor Rell said.“People want to know what to look for if they think they have been infected.They want to know how to prevent MRSA infections.We all need to take MRSA seriously, but we continue to tell the public that good hygiene is the best way to avoid infection from MRSA.
“MRSA is usually contracted by direct skin-to-skin contact with someone infected or by touching surfaces contaminated with the germ, thus students on sports teams or students using lavatories or locker rooms should take extra precautions.”
On Friday, the Governor directed the state Department of Public Health (DPH) to activate a public hotline for callers who have questions about MRSA.
The public can call the hotline, which was activated yesterday, at 1-800-830-9426 between the hours of and and speak to a representative of DPH.
Since 2000, cases of invasive MRSA are reportable to DPH (Connecticut was the first state in the nation to require such reports). Preliminary data show that 733 cases of invasive MRSA have been reported to DPH so far in 2007, a number that would project to 837 reports if the current rate of reporting is maintained. Health officials reported that in 2005, 954 invasive MRSA infections were reported to DPH. In 2006, 880 cases were reported. MRSA infections can range from mild skin infections to more severe infections of the bloodstream, lungs and at surgical sites.
Health officials advise the following to avoid becoming infected with MRSA:
·Keep your hands clean by washing thoroughly with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand cleaner.
·Keep cuts and scrapes clean and covered with a bandage until healed.
·Avoid contact with other people's wounds or bandages.
·Avoid sharing personal items such as towels or razors.
·If you have a wound or cut that is not healing properly, contact your physician
Last week, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a study that included data from Connecticut indicating that MRSA caused more than 94,000 life-threatening infections and nearly 19,000 deaths in the United States in 2005, most of them associated with health care settings.
The study in the Oct. 17 edition of the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) found about 85 percent of all invasive MRSA infections were associated with health care settings, of which two-thirds surfaced in the community among people who were hospitalized, underwent a medical procedure or resided in a long-term care facility within the previous year. In contrast, about 15 percent of reported infections were considered to be community-associated, which means that the infection occurred in people without documented health care risk factors.
The Connecticut Department of Public Health is the state’s leader in public health policy and advocacy with a mission to protect and promote the health and safety of the people of our state. To contact the department, please visit its website at www.ct.gov/dph or call (860) 509-7270.