My name is Tatiana Chiprez Vargas and I am from Stockton, CA.
It was spring of 2014, and I married the love of my life. It was an extremely happy time. Shortly after returning from our amazing honeymoon in Hawaii, I became ill. Very, very sick. Severe pain and worsening symptoms led me to being hospitalized and where I was diagnosed with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a contagious infection that strained my immune system and forced me to be quarantined in the ICU for weeks. What was supposed to be a happy time in my life was anything but as I was fighting for my life from an infection I had no idea how I got.
MRSA is a very contagious infection caused by a type of Staphylococcus, or staph, bacteria that is resistant to many types of antibiotics. These bacteria tend to live on the skin and in the nose and do not typically cause issues except when they multiply uncontrollably. A person can contract MRSA from another person through touch especially if there is a cut on the skin and on an object or surface touched by an infected person.
Fortunately, I survived MRSA. However, 700,000 people around the world die as a direct result of similar infections due to Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR), the ability of a microorganism (like bacteria, viruses, and some parasites) to stop an antimicrobial (such as antibiotics, antivirals and antimalarials) from working against it. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than two million Americans become infected with antibiotic resistant bacteria each year, and this number is expected to increase as AMR continues to rise globally.
How I contracted MRSA remains a mystery but the long-term effects of the infection linger. I still live with a chronic cough and am always concerned about being around other sick people. Any sign of a cold makes me feel like MRSA might strike again. As a new mom I worry what my history of infections could mean for my child.
My personal experience with MRSA made me realize how scary a diagnosis like this can really be, especially for my family and loved ones. The uncertainty of it all was also extremely daunting. I wanted to do something to help others so that they would not have to go through what I went through. So, I began to share my story. As a result, people were interested and intrigued. They wanted to know more. I then learned about a campaign called the Antimicrobial Resistance Fighters Coalition (AMRC), started by Becton Dickinson, which involves individuals, academic institutions, professional organizations and advocacy groups joined together with the common goal to drive action against AMR through education. Being part of the AMRC has helped me to cope and also to help inspire others to join and take part so that we can band together to combat this terrible health crisis.
I would be happy to share with you more about my personal story as I wouldn’t want anyone to ever have to endure what I experienced. While there are some things out of our control, there are others we can be more in the know about.
All user-generated information on this site is the opinion of its author only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for any medical conditions. Members and guests are responsible for their own posts and the potential consequences of those posts detailed in our Terms of Service.