'Superbug' found in some N.W.T. communities

Cases of people infected with drug-resistant bacteria have come up in some N.W.T. communities.

MRSA bacteria resistant to many antibiotics

Drug-resistant bacteria have come up in some N.W.T. communities.

The N.W.T. health department says there have been 86 cases of MRSA, which is also known as a 'superbug', this year. Half of them are in the Tlicho region and, in Behchoko, which is the largest community.

Dr. Andre Corriveau is the chief medical officer for the N.W.T. He said over the past 10 years, the infection from the bacteria has shown up in places other than hospitals. (CBC)

MRSA is a common skin bacteria but a certain strain of it is now resistant to many antibiotics. The symptoms are similar to a staph infection and can cause sore skin and swelling. The infection can spread quickly.

"If you have swelling on the skin that doesn’t heal quickly, that gets bigger and hot and painful go see the health centre. The sooner you're diagnosed, the sooner we can figure it out and get the right treatment for it," said Dr. Andre Corriveau, the territory’s chief public health officer.

Corriveau said people should wash their sheets and clothing often to prevent the bacteria from spreading. Overcrowded housing can also help the bacteria spread.

The bacteria were traditionally found in hospitals because of the high use of antibiotics.

"But over past decade all over the world it’s starting to spread in communities, and the fact that you haven’t been to a hospital is no guarantee you won’t catch it," he said.

The bacteria have been found in the N.W.T. before. In 2008, health officials warned it was becoming a large problem. Health officials also dealt with an outbreak of the bacteria in 2010. The 2010 outbreak was also concentrated in the Tlicho region.