Jim Kelly’s MRSA may be harder to treat than typical cases

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – It’s a setback for Jim Kelly, after receiving the good news about his cancer battle nearly three months ago.

Just when things seemed to be looking up for Kelly, he broke the news that he’s fighting methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection. Kelly announced in September that he’s cancer free. Kelly told the Miami Herald he’s developed a staph infection in his bones.

For eight weeks he’ll take intravenous antibiotics three times a day. Dr. Brahm Segal the Chief of Infectious Diseases at Roswell Park isn’t Kelly’s doctor, but told News 4 what typically happens in these cases where someone recently had cancer treatment.

“In those people you may see much more severe MRSA infections such as blood stream, pneumonia and these are things that can be life threatening,” said Segal.

MRSA is a form of staph infection which is a bacteria that most commonly causes skin and tissue infections. It can be more serious in those with weakened immune systems. Dr. Segal said antibiotics are less effective on someone who recently completed radiation treatments.

“What radiation can do is it can damage the bone and make the bone healing very difficult so the fact that you’ve had radiation that by itself is a risk factor for subsequent infection,” said Segal.

Kelly told the Miami Herald he’s still getting MRI’s twice a month and that’s how he found out he has the MRSA infection. “It’s a serious infection and sometimes antibiotics are insufficient often you need to have surgery,” said Segal.

Dr. Segal says MRSA is transmitted through contact with breaks in the skin. It can be common for athletes to get it. As for Kelly, it could be a long road to recovery. “When we are talking about standard treatment for bone infection, the general range is six -12 weeks. When you are talking about irradiated bone there is often more prolonged therapy,” said Segal.

Kelly has another MRI in two weeks and he told the Miami Herald that the pain has returned in his jaw.

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