The potentially deadly infection MRSA is receiving some attention in the Panhandle. The Texas legislature is mandating the first local study of the staph infection.
Between three and four percent of the Amarillo population carries dormant MRSA compared to the nation's one percent average. Because the infection is increasingly drug resistant and can even lead to death medical professionals say this study is necessary.
There is increasing concern that without new research, the MRSA infection could become an epidemic. Locally, skin and soft tissue infections are the most common ways MRSA shows up.
Pediatrician Dr. Meganne Walsh says she is finding the infection in new places.
"Just recently in the past few months kids are coming in with a sore throats and cultures. It's coming up as incidental findings when we are doing throat cultures I've never seen that until just recently.
The Health Department says dormant MRSA is on the rise in our area because of anti-biotic use.
Health Authority Dr. Todd Bell says, "That antibiotic use seems to be what drives and spread that drug resistant bacteria. We only have so many antibiotics in the pipeline, we want to preserve and conserve our antibiotics just like any other resource."
Dr. Bell says most MRSA infections appear as a spider bite. Both doctors recommend maintaining good hygiene and to avoid sharing personal hygiene items with family and friends.