Team:Elan Vital South Korea/h public awareness


Public Awareness Campaign

A medical thriller “Outbreak” written by Dr. Robin Cook is popular among the Korean general public. With the influence of such books and movies, people often develop misunderstandings about the characteristics of pathogens: confusing viruses with bacterium, for example. Only a handful of people know about MRSA, but most people probably heard of the term ‘super bacteria’ but when they hear super bacteria, things like Ebola virus: exotic, fatal, incurable disease causing pathogens. But people rarely think about anything that they might ever be infected by in everyday life. We captured the misunderstanding and lack of information on MRSA and its dangers, and decided to launch a public awareness campaign focusing on enlightening people by giving easy and crucial information about MRSA and methods to prevent infections.

Ye Eun Lee, Ji Yong Hong and Young Chan Kim were involved in the public awareness campaign first-hand. We developed pamphlets with short summaries about MRSA, Superbug and simple tips of prevention measures. We visited places where many people gather such as bus terminals and baseball park and schools to inform the public of the dangers of MRSA. Also, we visited a long term care center for the seniors. They live together in the care center, and seniors have weakened immune systems, so they are quite susceptible to MRSA infections. We gave out information about MRSA and prevention actions necessary to prevent infection. We emphasized that simple actions such as regular hand washing can reduce risk of CA-MRSA (community-associated MRSA). We aked the public to perform the following actions on a daily routine.

Regular hand-washing.

Fingernails cut short.

Do not share products such as soaps, lotions, creams and cosmetics with others.

Avoid sharing unwashed towels.

Avoid sharing personal items such as razors, nail files, toothbrushes, combs or hairbrushes.

Introducing MRSA to people


What is the difference between virus and bacteria?

Bacteria are unicellular microorganisms typically a few micrometers long. They are included in the category of living organisms. They have all the characteristics of life such as development, reproduction, homeostasis, etc. However, a virus cannot be strictly categorized as a living organism. Although it exhibits some of the characteristics of life such as having genetic materials, it does not show many of the crucial requirements of life such a s growth and development or (independent) reproduction. While bacteria can survive and reproduce on its own, viruses will quickly be wiped out in the absence of host cells. Viruses require host cells in order to reproduce.

What is super bacteria?

Super bacteria generally refer to pathogenic bacterium that are resistant to many of the standard drugs used in hospitals. Having this reistance makes it harder to cure the bacterial infection with medicine. Because of its ability to survive in the presence of these drugs, it is called a super bacteria.

What is MRSA?

MRSA, which stands for methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus, is a strain of the bacteria staphylococcus aureus that shows reistance to beta lactam antibiotics. It is quite difficult to cure because of this antibiotic resistance. It can cause a variety of disease from minor skin infections to serious, life threatening disease. Because of the antibiotic resistance and the difficulty in treating it, MRSA is often called a super bacteria.

Who is at risk?

MRSA infections are especially common in hospitals. MRSA is easily transmitted by contact, and without the proper safety procedures, MRSA can easily spread to other patients, caretakers, and doctors. Patients often have weakened immune systems, which makes them an easy target for MRSA, and open wounds, where MRSA can infect the open tissue.

How do people get infected by MRSA ?

The spread of MRSA relies on skin-to-skin contact with an individual who either has MRSA and/or colonized by the bacteria

MRSA has an aptitude to survive for extensive periods on surfaces and objects including door handles, floors, sinks, taps, cleaning equipment and fabric. It is very important to maintain thorough contact control and meticulous disinfection procedures to limit spread of bacteria.

Inappropriate use of antibiotics can cause MRSA to develop antibiotic resistance instead of curing the disease. Inappropriate use of antibiotics is thought to have initiated the development of resistance. Inappropriate use and prescribing includes:

Failing to complete a course of antibiotics as prescribed.

Doses of antibiotics being skipped.

Failure to take antibiotics at regular intervals.

Saving antibiotics for a later date.

Unnecessary prescription of antibiotics.

Improper use of broad-spectrum antibiotics.

Inappropriate selection and dose duration of antibiotics.

Signs and symptoms of MRSA

MRSA signs and symptoms can vary greatly depending on the situation. Although countless people carry MRSA bacteria in their mucosa (inside the nose), they may never display any symptoms whatsoever. But, MRSA may cause minor skin infections that appear as a bump or sore area of the skin that could be mistaken for an insect bite. The infected area might be red, inflamed, painful, hot to the touch, full of pus or other liquid and accompanied by a fever. MRSA is known to cause more serious problems when it penetrates the bloodstream or deep body tissue. These symptoms include fever, chills, malaise, dizziness, confusion, muscle pains, swelling, chest pains, coughing, breathlessness, headache, rash,etc.

How to avoid infections?

Wash your hands: Careful hand-washing is your best defense against pathogens. Scrub hands briskly for at least 15 seconds, then dry them with a disposable towel and use another towel to turn off the faucet. Carry a small bottle of hand sanitizer containing at least 62 percent alcohol for times when you don't have access to soap and water.

Keep wounds covered: Keep cuts and abrasions clean and covered with sterile, dry bandages until they heal. Naked wounds could provide MRSA easy access to your body, letting them pass the the body’s first line of defence (the skin) with no problem. Also, if you already carry dormant MRSA, The pus from infected sores may contain MRSA, and keeping wounds covered will help keep the bacteria from spreading.

Keep personal items personal: Avoid sharing personal items such as towels, sheets, razors, clothing and athletic equipment. MRSA spreads on contaminated objects as well as through direct contact.

Shower after athletic games or practices: Shower immediately after each game or practice. Use soap and water. Don't share towels.

Sanitize linens: If you have a cut or sore, wash towels and bed linens in a washing machine set to the hottest water setting (with added bleach, if possible) and dry them in a hot dryer. Wash gym and athletic clothes after each wearing.

Poster We Used For Public Awareness In Korean

슈퍼박테리아가 무엇인지 아세요?

마이클잭슨이 살아있을 때 감염되었던 슈퍼박테리아! 슈퍼박테리아는 항성제에 내성을 가진 박테리아를 부르는 말인데 슈퍼박테리아에 일단 감염되면 항성제가 소용이없어 치료가 어려운 무서운 균입니다.또 한가지 황당한 점은 슈퍼박테리아는 병을 고치러 가는 병원내에서 감염되는 경우가 많다는 것입니다.

MRSA는 슈퍼박테리아 중에도 아주 위험해 지금도 많이 거론되고있는 박테리아의 한 종류입니다. MRSA란 포도상구균중에서 베타-락탐 계열의 항생제에 내성을 갖게된 박테리아를 말합니다. 이 MRSA는 페니실린 계통의 항생제를 포함한 아주 많은 종류의 항생제에 내성을 지니고 있어 치료하기가 까다롭습니다.

MRSA는 어떤 박테리아인가?


위의 그림은 에서 보는 것처럼 노란 공처럼 생긴 세균들이 포도송이처럼 뭉쳐 있는 게 황색포도상구균입니다. 이 균은 피부염증이나 폐렴 등을 일으키는데 메티실린이라는 항생제를 넣으면 죽습니다. 그런데 이 항생제에 죽지 않는 황색포도상구균이 MRSA이며 이것이 돌연변이를 일으키면 수퍼박테리아가 됩니다. 한마디로 슈퍼박테리아는 어떤 항생제에도 듣지 않는 세균을 뜻합니다.

수퍼박테리아 감염을 막으려면 우선적으로 MRSA 감염을 막아야 합니다. MRSA는 주로 척추,관절,눈,뇌,심장 등 신체의 무균 부위를 수술하거나 요로·정맥·호흡기 등을 치료하기 위해 인체에 관을 삽입할 때 발생합니다.

MRSA 감염경로

MRSA에 감염된 환자 모습

우리나라에서는 MRSA에 감염되어 사망하는 사람이 많을 것으로 추정하고 있지만 아직 병원감염의 부작용을 겪고 있는 환자나 사망자의 수조차 정확하게 파악되고 있지 않은 실정입니다. 따라서 정부는 각급 병원 규모에 맞는 감염관리 프로그램을 실시하고, 현장의 감염관리 실무능력 향상을 위한 교육프로그램을 개발하는 등 의료현장의 역량 강화를 위한 지원을 확충해야 합니다. 병원감염 예방을 위해서는 손소독제 및 보호구 등에 대한 체계적이고 철저한 관리 체계가 수립되어야 합니다.

MRSA 감염을 막기 위해선 무엇을 해야 할까요?

제일 먼저 손 씻기가 생활화되어야 합니다. 또한 환경소독을 적절히 실시해서 청결을 유지해야 합니다. 보다 전문적으로는 항생제를 남용하지 않도록 해야하며 감염위험이 있는 환자들을 특별 관리해야 합니다. 특히 MRSA 가 정착되거나 감염된 경력이 있는 환자, 다른병원이나 요양원등에서 이송된 환자, 최근 3개월 이내에 입원한적이 있는 환자 등을 병원에서 특별 관리를 통해 MRSA 감염 방지 노력을 해야 합니다. 뿐만 아니라 중환자실,장기이식 센터, 흉부외과,정형외과,혈관외과, 기타 심각한 MRSA 감염증(균혈증,폐렴,수술부위감염등)이 발생하는곳에 대해서는 의료기관의 철저한 관리가 이루어져야 하고 정부의 지원과 감독이 꼭 필요합니다.