MRSA: From Humans to Animals and back again and other concepts

We welcomed Dr. David Weber, Dr. Jorge Ferreira, and Dr. Vance Fowler on Tuesday, February 22, 2011, to our One Health Collaborative Intellectual Exchange Group meeting to discuss MRSA. Dr. Weber is a Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics and UNC’s School of Medicine and also a Professor of Epidemiology at UNC’s Gillings School of Global Public Health. He kicked off the session with great stories on how people become infected with infectious diseases and common sense ways to avoid infection. He was very adamant on the fact that lessons can lessons can be learned after every infection, no matter how large or small. It was interesting, that during his presentation, he noted that the country with the greatest number of newly emerging diseases were discovered in the United States, based on the sole fact that the United States has better technology than other countries for identifying these new and emerging zoonotic diseases. Dr. Ferreira is currently a Fulbright scholar in the Comparative Biomedical Sciences Ph.D. program at NCSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Population Health and Pathobiology. He’s presentation focused on the unknown variables when organisms, humans or animals, become infected with MRSA. One of the major barriers at the moment is determining which organism was infected first, the human or the animal. A lengthy discussion followed addressing the concept of “community associated MRSA” in which one community becomes infected with one strand and another community becomes infected by a different strand. This highlighted some of the harder aspects of studying MRSA outside of clinical settings. His overall message was that this is no longer an individual’s problem, but a societal problem with the potential to involve all living things. A question and answer session followed in which Dr. Fowler contributed. Dr. Fowler was trained at Duke University and is currently an extensively published, Associate Professor. This was the first time the One Health Collaborative Intellectual Exchange Group had an extensive panel discussion session that followed the presentations. The questions asked varied from personal experiences with MRSA and specific risk factors, to ways in which local entrepreneurs are developing microbial resistant textiles, to ways in which individual medical practitioners can become more educated on patient symptoms and to follow the developments of MRSA research and finding.

We want to thank again Drs. Weber, Ferreira, and Fowler, for participating in the One Health Collaborative Intellectual Exchange Group. It is people like you who are ready and willing to share your comments, suggestions, and life experiences, that make the One Health Collaborative Intellectual Exchange Group a truly learning and positive experience.

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