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Dear expert team,

I have a tremendous problem. Our little Louis is almost 19 months old now and has CF.

My partner’s family does not want to have anything to do with the disease, dismiss everything and think that if they only see him every three months they do not have to pay attention to anything (we live in the same street).

My partner’s grandmother has diabetes, can hardly walk and has recently been admitted to three different hospitals including a lung clinic due to acute disturbed functions.

I am terrified now that she might have MRSA, and I do not know what to do. We avoid any contact completely now, of course. How could we find out whether grandma has such a germ? What are we supposed to do now? Please answer me honestly; we are done with this family anyway, but how long does such a germ live?

Dear questioner,

your concern is not entirely unwarranted, since particularly diabetics run a higher risk of staphylococcus colonization and infection. Both the regularly-sensitive staphylococcus aureus stems and the methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (short: MRSA) belong to the staphylococcae. Since your son’s grandmother has been treated in several hospitals, there is an even higher risk of MRSA colonization or infection. MRSA colonization can vary in duration and is hard to predict. Also, it does not necessarily show and most of the colonized people do not even realize that they are MRSA carriers. At home, no special precautions to avoid contact have to be taken if the other household members are healthy. For your son with CF, colonization with MRSA would indeed have consequences. Even though is has not been shown conclusively whether MRSA affects a patient’s lung function, there is a particular set of hygiene guidelines that has to be followed in case MRSA has been shown in a patient. Some of these guidelines are rather complicated to follow.

To make sure your son’s grandmother has not been colonized, her doctor could take nasal and throat swabs to prove or rule out MRSA.

Kind regards

Barbara Kahl
9.9.10 Please see also comments and toughts about this topic under Topics--MRSA-- "MRSA and the environment". D. d'Alquen