L.A. County Warns of Staph Infection Outbreak

Gretchen Gallen
LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles County Department of Health Services has pinpointed the re-emergence of a strain of antibiotic-resistant staph infection that has been spotted among growing numbers of people living in close conditions or those with frequent skin contact.

The Health Department posted information on its website stating that the prevalence of Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), or community associated CAMRSA, has accounted for a rise in reported skin infections throughout the nation.

“It used to be a hospital-acquired infection, but it’s hitting the public a little bit stronger than before and has been seen in the adult entertainment circle,” Spokesperson Patric Kline of the Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation told XBiz.

Kline said that AIM’s Sherman Oaks facility has seen a rise in MRSA/CAMRSA infections over the past six months.

“To see an outbreak like this is not surprising, especially in this industry where there is contact, especially rough contact, which makes it more likely to spread,” Kline said.

Often misdiagnosed as a spider bite, CAMRSA can also spread through contaminated surfaces and shared items. CAMRSA can look like a boil or manifest as a large, red, sensitive patch of skin filled with fluid.

“This is something we’re taking seriously and we have put out guidelines for reducing the spread of Staph in non-healthcare settings,” Dr. Elizabeth Bancroft, a medical epidemiologist with the Los Angeles County Health Department, told XBiz. “If you have a lot of bare skin contact, then you might be more at risk of getting this.”

Bancroft cited bathhouses, gyms, homeless shelters and jails as being high-risk locations and said that adult entertainment performers or people who manage facilities where entertainers work should take precautions.

Bancroft recommends frequent hand washing and showers before and after prolonged skin contact.

“It’s quite contagious,” Bancroft said. “If you have an open wound, it should be covered. My personal recommendation is that if you can’t keep it covered, then you should not be having bare-skinned contact with other people.”

So far the Health Department has reported the highest amount of CAMRSA infections among athletes, the military, prisoners, students and gay men.

In a study based in Los Angeles County, risk factors among HIV-infected gay men included drug use and recent sexually transmitted infections.

“In the cases we’ve seen, we’ve treated them with a broad sector of antibiotics and there haven’t been many complications, maybe a few complaints of scarring,” Kline said. Treatment takes between 10-14 days.

“It’s uncomfortable and an inconvenience for people in the industry, but we have not yet seen it in high enough numbers to be too concerned,” Kline said.