MRSA easily prevented, treated if caught early -, Albany News, Weather, Sports

MRSA easily prevented, treated if caught early

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November 5, 2007

Albany - Before MRSA made headlines, An Albany couple learned about the dangerous "superbug" first hand. Their premature daughter came down with the infection just two weeks after her birth. They also turn learned that frequent hand washing is the best way to prevent the problem.

Little Natavia Roney gets no shortage of accolades from her parents. "She sits us, she shows all the signs of six months. She rolls over, sits up, holds her head up high, turns her head."

But the start of her life, wasn't so easy. She was born about three months premature at just one pound 15 ounces. Like most preemies, Natavia was susceptible to just about any infection and doctors soon told her parents she had MRSA.

Her mother said, "It was already scary because this was our first premature baby and then going in there dealing with this MRSA, we didn't know what MRSA was."

Though Amanda and Dewain Roney had never heard of MRSA, they soon learned a lot about the strain of staph infection and how to keep their two other children safe from it. "We have germ sanitizer in every room and bathroom," Amanda said.

Dr. Thomas Bozzuto says about 65% of staph infections in our area are MRSA, but like Natavia, they are very rarely fatal, and are most often preventable if you use proper hygiene. "The big thing anybody can do from getting MRSA is hand washing," he said.

But even then, even at the cleanest places, you could be susceptible, like little Natavia. "This place is really clean and it's hard for us to believe that she got MRSA while she was at the hospital," said Dwain.

And although MRSA is resistant to many antibiotics, some are effective against it. She was cleared up and ready to go home with in a couple of months. And like her positive outcome, Dr. Bozzuto says others often end just as well. "In 10 years since this wound care practice has been open, nobody here has ever died from MRSA."

Of their little girl Amanda said, "She's a beautiful thing and a miracle to us because she came a long way, a long way."

Dr. Bozzuto says in addition to hand washing, anyone who uses locker rooms, at school or in a gym should always have some sort of foot protection while walking around to prevent picking up an infection.