MRSA Staph Infection

A super bug that used to only make hospital patients sick is now showing up everywhere.

Noelle Gardner explains how MRSA is on the rise in healthy people.

When 35-year-old Whitney Lester noticed a small bump on his left hip, he thought it was a spider bite.

Whitney says, "Really barely noticeable but within a few days time had formed into something that was painful and larger."

By the time he went to the hospital, he was feverish with a lump on his hip the size of a tennis-ball. An alert nurse knew just what it was.

Whitney says, "She nailed it right away. This looks like MRSA, which of course I had no idea what she was talking about."

It's a type of staph infection; Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) is a type of bacteria that is resistant to certain antibiotics. These antibiotics include methicillin and other more common antibiotics such as oxacillin, penicillin and amoxicillin.

Doctor Neil Fishman says, "The infections can be serious but can be treated very easily, if they're caught early."

Whitney has no idea how he picked up his staph infection. About 30% of the population carry staph bacteria on their body and about 1% carry the drug resistant kind, MRSA.

Most don't get sick from it.

Doctor Fishman says, "So they can get it from their own bodies, or they can pick it up from the environment."

Good basic hygiene can help prevent it.

Doctor Fishman says, "Particularly washing your hands with soap and water or using one of the alchol hand rubs that are avaliable in the drug store, in the supermarket."

Whitney had to have surgery to cut out the infected tissue, leaving a crater in his hip.

He says, "They started with some fairly strong antibiotics and after a day they did more surgery to get the remains out...  and then upped it to the strongest antibiotics that they had in the hospital."