Venice Neighborhood Alert
Venice Stakeholders Calls for Intervention by County Department of Health to Assess Risk and Implement “Best Practices” to Prevent MRSA Spread
A representative of Lava-Mae, the organization providing showers to homeless individuals at 3rd and Rose in Venice, reports that they have seen six of cases of apparent MRSA, an antibiotic resistant bacteria, in those who have been using Lava-Mae’s showers.
Mark Ryavec, president of Venice Stakeholders Association said, “We understand that the County Department of Public Health has been contacted about the situation but not initiated any response to either assess the risk of spread or implement any action to treat the individuals.”
Jasmin Mouflard, Lava-Mae’s Los Angeles Director, said, “We saw six individuals who were taking drugs to treat MRSA and another three people who have the open sores that suggest they also are infected with the staphylococcus bacteria.”
“While we are not health care professionals, we concluded that the six who have been prescribed with drugs to treat the bacteria have MRSA,” Mouflard said.
Rick Swinger, a nearby resident, said, “This certainly appears to be dangerous for the homeless population in the area. I have also been told that it could represent a health risk for residents who can pick it up from their shoes or from their dogs by walking in the area.”
Ryavec said, “At the first notice of the presence of MRSA, the County Health Department should have instituted “best practices” that are routinely applied in hospitals and locker rooms to contain and eradicate the bacteria.”
Ms. Mouflard noted that they spray the disinfectant Oxivir 516 Concentrate over the shower walls and floor and the nearby ground after each shower use, but do not have the time or resources to treat the entire sidewalk along 3rd Street or Rose Avenue. She said the chemical kills MRSA in five minutes.
MRSA, which stands for Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, is a staph bacterium transmitted through contact with a person carrying it or by touching objects contaminated with it. It can affect healthy people who live in crowded environments or who are frequently involved in group activities, including child care workers, inmates, and athletes.
MRSA is commonly found in the nose, and since carriers are contagious, they can release contaminated droplets into the air by sneezing and coughing. If the bacteria is colonized on the skin, frequent scratching increases a carrier’s risk of spreading MRSA. MRSA can gradually infect vital organs.