Police Union: LAPD Officers Contracted MRSA Staph Infection After Homeless Person Came Into Station

Three LAPD officers have been infected with a highly contagious staph infection after what a union official says was an encounter with a homeless person at a police station.

Three Los Angeles Police Department officers have been infected with a highly contagious staph infection (MRSA) blamed on an encounter with a homeless person at a police station, according to a union official.

“The health, safety, and well-being of our Los Angeles Police Department officers is critical and we are ensuring the officers exposed to this disease are cared for. First responders throughout the region and especially here in Los Angeles are constantly responding to incidents that put them at risk of potential exposure to various diseases, and that’s why the Department takes this incident very seriously. All of the work areas that may have been exposed have been disinfected.”

— LAPD

MRSA or Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus is a type of gram-positive staph bacteria that is genetically distinct from other strains of Staphylococcus aureus. MRSA is any strain of S. aureus that has developed — through horizontal gene transfer and natural selection — multiple drug resistance to beta-lactam antibiotics, which are a broad spectrum group which includes some penams – penicillin derivatives such as methicillin and oxacillin, and cephems such as the cephalosporins.

Acquired Types
HA-MRSA (healthcare-associated or hospital-acquired MRSA)

CA-MRSA (community-associated MRSA)

LA-MRSA (livestock-associated)

MRSA can be found on the skin of healthy people, but can cause serious bone and blood infections. A MRSA infection can initially look like a spider bite or pimple, but continues to get infected and can cause a fever. The bacteria is resistant to antibiotics; and can spread through direct contact and infected surfaces in crowded places like jails, hospitals, schools and gyms. MRSA can also spread in close communities like homeless encampments.

“Staph” is a very common germ that about 1 out of every 3 people have on their skin or in their nose. The Staph germ does not cause any problems for most people who have it on their skin.

But sometimes MRSA can cause skin or wound infections, pneumonia, infections of the blood, sepsis (the body’s extreme response to an infection), and death.

You cannot tell by looking at a wound or infection whether the symptom is a serious staph or MRSA infection. It is important to get medical care quickly to make sure the infection does not become serious.

MRSA skin infections often appear as wounds or boils that are ..

red,
swollen,
painful, or
have pus or other drainage.

But remember nobody can determine, just by looking at a boil or wound, whether the boil or wound is MRSA (Examples of MRSA on Google images).

CDC: Preventing MRSA Infection

How can I prevent a MRSA Infection?
You can take these steps to reduce your risk of MRSA infection:

Maintain good hand and body hygiene. Clean hands often, and clean your body regularly, especially after exercise.

Keep cuts, scrapes, and wounds clean and covered until healed.

Avoid sharing personal items such as towels and razors.

Get care early if you think you might have an infection.

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See also …
cdc.gov/mrsa