MRSA Takes the Life of Washington Student

BELLINGHAM, Wash. – A 20-year-old student at Western Washington University has died from complications of pneumonia brought on by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

The student, Chris Feden, had experienced a lingering cough for two weeks. The coughing then led to fever and vomiting. On Feb. 14, Feden began coughing up blood.

Feden was admitted to the intensive care unit at St. Joseph hospital where he was treated with antibiotics; however the treatment was not able to save him.

Washington’s Department of Health’s Dr. Maxine Hayes said many people carry MRSA on their skin and noses without developing symptoms. Yet, if the person contracts influenza, the bacteria can spread into a life-threatening infection due to a weakened immune system.

Hayes recommends everyone receive a flu vaccination, as it is likely to reduce the risk of a secondary virus, including MRSA. At Western, only 750 students out of 13,000 have received the vaccination.

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