KAILUA (HawaiiNewsNow) - A dog in Kailua has come down with a dangerous a bacterial infection. It came before the recent storms but where he picked up the disease isn't known. It is not connected to the three cases of flesh eating disease discovered on Kauai but it does highlight the need for prevention when talking about infections.
Cashew is an 11 year old golden retriever that has come down with MRSA a dangerous bacterial infection.
"It's just so difficult to see him go through what he's gone through," said Jennifer Burkle, Kailua.
He had surgery on his ear and wound up with the infection that is resistant to antibiotics.
"He had a lot of medicine in his system but it wasn't doing anything and it was out of control so not only did he have MRSA but he ended up having three more organisms," said Burkle. "I just don't want it to happen to other animals, other pets, definitely people because it's really hard to go through and I hate to say it but it's very very expensive to go through."
It turns out Hawaii has more MRSA cases than any other state. It's tough to say exactly why because the state has no money or people researching or tracking the data. This despite the fact that online research showed infections like MRSA kill more people than diseases like aids.
"It definitely weighs on my mind. If I had unlimited funds there would be so much that we could do that we're unable to do," said Dr. Sarah Park, State Epidemiologist. "There are so many things I wish I had funding and resources for. I get it that financially we're strapped on the federal and state level but it is frustrating for someone like me and there is so much I feel like we could do and we need to do."
Cashew's infection is the type that can go from people to dogs or dogs to people which is another reason to use caution especially since the Center for Disease Control says one percent of the population is a carrier for MRSA. It's also why prevention with good hygiene is crucial.
"Your skin can't be taken for granted it's a huge part of your immune system you have a break in that barrier and you have a break in your immune system and that's how people get infected," said Dr. Park. "All these things are preventable. Get treated early, you can prevent the horrible outcome that is the scary thing."
Jennifer Burkle fears the over prescription of antibiotics will eventually make more people susceptible as the bacteria becomes more immune.
"It's only going to get worse but you have to be aware and you can nip it in the bud before it gets out of control," said Burkle.
So how do you prevent MRSA? Of course don't touch people's wounds but also don't share towels or razors, keep cuts and scrapes clean and get treated early. That counts for people and animals.