Health :: Caution advised on Staphylococcus aureus

The Centre for Health Protection has cautioned the public to be vigilant against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, as many places, including Hong Kong, have seen its occurrence in the community.

The centre’s Infection Control Branch Head Dr Raymond Yung said the infections were no longer confined to hospitals and institutions as in the past.

“In recent years, many countries observed the infections in healthy individuals who have not been hospitalised or stayed in other healthcare facilities or institutions. Nor had they received medical procedures in the year prior to the onset of symptoms. These are known as community associated-MRSA infections and usually have different patterns of antibiotic resistance,” Dr Yung said.

Community associated-MRSA strains are more infectious than hospital-associated ones, and are mainly transmitted through direct contact with wounds, discharge and soiled areas, usually via hands, which may then contaminate other areas of the body, items or surfaces.

Symptoms may include redness, warmth, swelling, skin tenderness or pus drainage. Sometimes more serious effects, such as purulent wound infections and severe pneumonia, may occur, requiring hospitalisation and special antibiotics.

The public should take preventive measures especially when they have skin wounds. More details are available here.

Dr Yung also warned that improper use of antibiotics could cause the emergence of these bacteria. To prevent antibiotic resistance, patients are strongly advised to take antibiotics only when necesary.

Antibiotics should be prescribed by registered medical practitioners and the patient should complete the whole course of treatment according to the prescribed dosage and frequency.

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