Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Activists From Around the Globe to Unite at Loyola to Call Attention to the Fight Against Deadly Superbug

Second annual World MRSA Day to pay tribute to those affected by antibiotic-defying bacterium that sickens, kills thousands around the world

MAYWOOD, Ill. -- No one needs to explain to the people who have experienced it the danger posed by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, the antibiotic-defying bacterium commonly known as MRSA.

In 2005, about 94,360 people developed serious MRSA infections, most of which occurred in hospitals and in other health-care settings, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nearly 19,000 patients died from MRSA.

A number of MRSA survivors and their families and friends will be on hand to share their experiences with MRSA at the second annual World MRSA Day kickoff event at Loyola University Chicago. The event, held in conjunction with World MRSA Awareness Month in October, will take place from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Friday, Oct. 1, in the Simpson Room at Loyola University Chicago’s Lake Shore Campus, 1032 West Sheridan Road, Chicago.

"We have a fantastic event planned this year with organizations, students, health officials, infectious disease specialists, legislators and MRSA infection survivors and family members along with the community coming together from across the country to raise awareness for MRSA," said Jeanine Thomas, a MRSA infection survivor and founder of World MRSA Day and MRSA Survivors Network.

The World MRSA Day kickoff event will be broadcasted live, starting at 10 a.m. at www.worldmrsaday.org. The event is free and open to the public. Other events will be held throughout October in the U.S., United Kingdom and Canada.

Fortunately, the rate of infections with hospital-acquired MRSA in the U.S. has declined 28 percent in recent years, according to a recent study by the CDC, which surveyed hospitals in nine metropolitan areas between 2005 and 2008. The decline is attributed to beefed-up screenings and prevention efforts taken by medical centers.

Loyola was among the first hospitals in the nation to initiate several aggressive strategies to detect and reduce MRSA infection. Active screening and surveillance have been used successfully in the neonatal unit and in the intensive care unit. The testing involves DNA analysis of a nasal swab sample at the time of admission. Results are returned within two hours. The decision to move to universal hospital screening for all inpatients grew out of the significant reduction in infection seen in these two areas.

However, the number of community-associated cases of MRSA infection is rising in the United States, said Dr. Jorge Parada, director of the infection control program at Loyola University Health System. Currently, between 5 to 10 percent of people are infected, and it is not known when that number will plateau.

"If we were dealing with something that virtually nobody had, then it wouldn"t be a big deal,” said Parada, who will give a slide presentation and perform a MRSA screening demonstration at the kickoff event. “"he problem with the MRSA epidemic in the community is you don't know when you're going to touch something that somebody with MRSA touched."

To interview Reimer, Parada or any other Loyola MRSA expert, call Perry Drake in media relations, (708) 216-7940. Cell: (708) 441-7736. For more information on the World MRSA Day kickoff event, e-mail info@worldmrsaday.org or info@mrsasurvivors.org, go to http://worldmrsaday.org/ or call (630) 325-4354.

About Loyola University Health System

Loyola University Health System (LUHS) is part of Trinity Health. Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, LUHS is a quaternary care system with a 61-acre main medical center campus, the 36-acre Gottlieb Memorial Hospital campus and more than 30 primary and specialty care facilities in Cook, Will and DuPage counties. Loyola University Medical Center’s campus is conveniently located in Maywood, 13 miles west of Chicago’s Loop and 8 miles east of Oak Brook, Ill. At the heart of the medical center campus is a 559-licensed-bed hospital that houses a Level 1 Trauma Center, a Burn Center and the Ronald McDonald® Children's Hospital of Loyola University Medical Center. Also on campus are the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, Loyola Outpatient Center, Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine and Loyola Oral Health Center as well as Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. Loyola's Gottlieb campus in Melrose Park includes the 255-licensed-bed community hospital, the Professional Office Building housing 150 private practice clinics, the Adult Day Care, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park.

Trinity Health is a national Catholic health system with an enduring legacy and a steadfast mission to be a transforming and healing presence within the communities we serve. Trinity is committed to being a people-centered health care system that enables better health, better care and lower costs. Trinity Health has 88 hospitals and hundreds of continuing care facilities, home care agencies and outpatient centers in 21 states and 119,000 employees.