Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA can be a serious and even fatal infection. Many people with severe developmental disabilities are at risk for acquiring the infection.
MRSA was first identified as an infection spread in hospitals, but it began showing up in the 1990's in the wider community. People who are at risk for MRSA are those who have recently been hospitalized, residents of long-term care facilities, people with weakened immune systems, and those who use invasive devices such as catheters or feeding tubes.
One of the first signs of the infection are small red bumps on the skin that resemble small pimples or spider bites. There are treaments for MRSA, including the anti-biotic Vancomycin, and much that can be done in hospitals and other facilities to prevent its spread. But according to the June 9th, 2007 issue of Science News, ("Sticky treatment for staph infections"), honey made by bees pollinating a New Zealand bush offers a potential new therapy. Rose Cooper of the University of Wales Institute at Cardiff found that the staph cells that became stuck in the manuka honey stop dividing.
Sterile manuka honey has been available by prescription in the United Kingdom since 2004 to treat MRSA. A new study is underway with the hope that the honey will play a key role in controlling the infection.
For more information on MRSA, check out the Mayo Clinic website. Especially important for families of people with deveopmental disabilities are the recommendations for preventing the spread of MRSA in hospitals and other facilities.