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IL poised to certify staph infections as killers

Post-Dispatch, June 30, 2011

Death certificates in Illinois will soon reflect what patient safety advocates say has been a secret killer - - staph infections that are resistant to antibiotics. Under the new law, healthcare providers who fill out the certificates will have to include the presence of methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, known as MRSA, and other infections that are resistant to multiple drugs if they contributed to or caused a death. Gov. Pat Quinn is expected to sign the bill into law. Illinois would become the second state after Washington to require the infections be included on death certificates when appropriate. MRSA is a prevalent staph bacteria that can cause skin, ear, nose and throat infections when acquired through close contact - - typically in dorms, jails, day care centers and locker rooms. More serious MRSA infections can occur in hospitalized patients with compromised immune systems following surgeries or other procedures that allow the bacteria to enter the body and cause blood infections and pneumonia.