MRSA: Almost Fatal For Local Man

Knoxville (WVLT) Staph infection, including MRSA, usually affects the skin and is minor.

But some staph infections are serious and may enter the blood or other parts of the body.

In Knox County, 108 such cases have been reported so far this year.

Tonight, one man shares with us his story of contracting MRSA, and why he says he's lucky to be alive to tell it.

David Underwood says the cut or scrape that caused him to develop life threatening MRSA was so minor, to this day, he can't remember how he did it.

"i just had a little cyst coming from my arm. It was like a little bump."

That was a Thursday, by Saturday, he says, he was deathly ill and thought he was having a heart attack.

"We went to the doctor. The doctor put me on some antibiotics, they didn't work. So, i went back two days later and as soon as i went in, he sent me straight to the hospital."

That's when David was diagnosed with MRSA, something neither he nor his wife, Brenda, had ever even heard of before.

"I've heard of staph infections, but I always though you got that at hospitals. But, now I find out that's not true. Staph infection, it's in the air."

It's called community-acquired MRSA, but it's just as dangerous as the strain prone to hospitals and nursing homes.

In David's case, it was nearly fatal.

"He looked at it, and he said, we're going to have to operate right now. He said if we wait any longer, you'll probably lose your arm."

And a new report from the Centers for Disease Control shows MRSA is rising.

Responsible for an estimated 94,000 life threatening infections, and 18,650 deaths in 2005.

It's known as a super-bug because it's resistant to so many antibiotics, but it's best prevented simply by keeping your hands clean, and cuts and scrapes covered with a bandage until healed.

"Treating a cut, you know, I was one to just wipe it off and keep going and I'm sure other people do too, but I don't recommend that no more."

Underwood says it took him about four months to completely recover, though his arm is still scarred at the source of the infection.

He and his wife can joke about it now, that they buy antibacterial soap and ointment in bulk.

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