Doctor: Serious Staph Infections More Common Than Most Think

Jax Woman Describes Her Battle With MRSA

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Staph infections, including the serious MRSA strain, have been spreading through schools nationwide in recent weeks, according to health and education officials.

More than 20 Virginia schools were recently shut down in a battle against what's being called a "superbug."

On Thursday, Channel 4 talked with a Jacksonville woman about her fight against the staph infection.

"They told me I had MRSA," Susan Green said.

She was diagnosed with the same bacterial staph infection blamed for killing a Virginia teen and shutting down a school system.

Green said she has lived with staph infections for years and that her battle with the illness has weakened her immune system and made her more susceptible to MRSA.

"My immune system is attacked," Green said.

Dr. Robert Harmon, the executive director of the Duval County Health Department, said MRSA is more common than most people think.

"MRSA is methicillin-resistant staph aureus. It's a bacterial infection that can be pretty serious and resistant to antibiotic treatment," Harmon said. "People with immune deficiencies and older individuals are more susceptible."

The "superbug" was one of the first germs known to outwit most drugs. It's hard to tell how many cases there are in Northeast Florida because doctors aren't required to report infected patients.

Harmon said MRSA is in Florida, but there is a key way to stay protected -- wash your hands.

"The important thing is to keep wounds clean, wash hands frequently and if any cut is not getting better, see a doctor quickly," Harmon said.

Green's advice was similar.

"Ask their doctor about MRSA because I didn't know I had it for a long time," Green said.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.