September 25th, 2009

MRSA in Pets

As every card-carrying ID specialist knows, hardly anything is more common these days than patients with — and questions about — methcillin-resistant Staph aureus, or MRSA.

And one question I’ve been hearing increasingly these days is “Could I be getting my recurrent infection from Rufus?”

To which the answer is, unfortunately, yes.

(I had a dog named Rufus.  No offense intended to people out there actually named Rufus.)

Now along comes this article in the New York Times, which no doubt will stimulate the economy by prompting massive sales of hand-sanitizers, plus a flurry of trips to the vet to have Otto cultured.

(That’s Otto — our cat — in the picture, FYI.)

The article is self-explanatory — pets get MRSA, they can spread it to their owners and back — but did they have to put this caption under the picture of the dog?

INFECTION Don Graff of Belle Mead, N.J., with his English setter, Sunny. The dog contracted MRSA after a spider bite [emphasis added] but was given medication and has improved.

Spider bite!  If there’s one thing this medical writer should have figured out in her background research for the piece, it’s that MRSA infections are frequently mistaken for spider bites.

And I’d bet good money that Sunny (the English setter in the Times story) never had one — for which I’m sure he’s quite relieved.

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HIV Information: Author Paul Sax, M.D.

Paul E. Sax, MD

Contributing Editor

NEJM Journal Watch
Infectious Diseases

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