From the December 2008 Idaho Observer:

MRSA: A severely underreported epidemic in the U.S.

What is MRSA? According to the CDC, methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) refers to types of staph that are resistant to treatment with methicillin, an antibiotic. MRSA is often resistant to other antibiotics as well. While 25 to 30 percent of the population is colonized with staph (meaning bacteria are present, but not causing an infection with staph), approximately one percent is colonized with MRSA.

Staphylococcus aureus or "staph" is a type of bacteria commonly carried on the skin or in the nose of healthy people. However, the CDC also states that staph bacteria are one of the most common causes of skin infections in the United States. An intelligent person might ask, why do healthy people carry this bacteria and not experience skin infections?

On November 16, 2008, The Seattle Times published an article claiming that Washington hospitals, through lack of basic testing and safety protocols being followed, have unleashed a MRSA epidemic in that state. The Times did an investigation that analyzed millions of computerized hospital records and state files that revealed 672 previously undisclosed deaths attributable to MRSA. They found that, over the past decade, the numbers of hospital patients infected with MRSA jumped from 141 cases to a whopping 14,723 cases annually.

One federally-funded study conducted from July, 2004, through December, 2005, on nine "program sites" with a total estimated population of 16,439,000 revealed 8,987 MRSA cases just in that 18-month time period. If we consider their population sample as about 5 percent of the total U.S. population of 300 million people and then multiply the cases in their study to account for the rest of the people in the U.S. during that time frame, we get an estimate of 164,006 cases. According to this study, 20 percent of those infected with MRSA, or approximately 32,800 from July, 2004, through December, 2005, die in the hospital [See Journal of the American Medical Association, October 2007;298(15):1763-1771].

Dr. Joseph Mercola stated, "To put that number into perspective, HIV/AIDS killed 17,000 people that year. The numbers are even more staggering when you include ALL hospital infections, not just MRSA, as approximately 1.7 million Americans contracted infections during hospital stays in 2007, and a subsequent 100,000 people perished from these infections, according to the CDC."