We’ve often written about antibiotic resistance and usually about the impact of resistant infections on vulnerable people or poor people crammed into unhygienic living quarters. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers should make us all think again.
One of Florida’s three professional football teams has a crisis with MRSA. A fascinating Sports Illustrated story this week describes it in detail but it’s only available to subscribers — do read it should you subscribe. This CBS news piece gives a less comprehensive (and less frightening) summary. According to SI, at least one of the players is suing claiming that his MRSA skin infection should be treated as a work-related injury.
Community-acquired MRSA is longstanding issue in North America — these infections are almost all hospital acquired in Europe. There are periodic scares from across the US about unlucky gym patrons contracting skin infections which can only be treated with repeated draining and prolonged use of last resort intravenous antibiotics.
Even non-athletes are in danger. A Canadian consumer programme has discovered very high levels of MRSA in hotel rooms across the country — it was frequently on “comforters” or duvets which many North American hotels put between sheets instead of in a proper duvet cover. The reporter was so alarmed by her own findings that she now travels with her own sterilising wipes and cup and will only use hotel TV remotes through a plastic bag.
Many believe that overuse of antibiotics in the factory farming of meat is at the root of many of the North American problems but the US FDA still refuses to act.