Pacific Islanders, Hawaiians, Other Minority Groups Have Increased Risk for Drug-Resistant Staph Infections, Experts Say
Pacific Islanders, Hawaiians and other ethnic groups appear to have an increased risk for drug-resistant staph infections, infectious disease experts said last week at the three-day Staphylococcus Symposium in Hawaii, the Honolulu Star-Bulletin reports. More than 200 scientists and researchers attended the conference, which the Staphylococcus Institute sponsored, and it sought to address the methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and the response to the infection, according to the Star-Bulletin.
In Hawaii, hospital rates for MRSA are twice the national average, according to the institute. CDC is studying clusters of community-associated MRSA skin infections among American Indians, Alaska natives and other ethnic groups. CDC official Rachel Gorwitz said ethnic minority groups are likely disproportionately affected because of socioeconomic factors, such as living in crowded conditions, lack of access to health care and some cultural differences "in the way people perceive skin care."
She said CDC recently launched a public information campaign to alert people of how to recognize symptoms, avoid spreading the infection and when to seek medical attention. "Basic hygiene can go a long way to prevent spread of the disease and infection," she said, adding, "We're also educating doctors on what to do," noting that they need to be more vigilant in diagnosing the infections (Altonn, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 3/16).