The fact that carpets are among the biggest breeding grounds for germs and microbes in the house doesn’t disturb as many people as it once did. One of the reasons this might be the case is because no one has ever been known to die from getting carpet germs. But while this is technically true, it grossly underestimates the potency of some the bacteria present in a carpet. An example of such a microbe is Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
MRSA is a bacterium responsible for several infections in humans that are difficult to treat; it’s resistant to several penicillins, as well as to cephalosporin. Resistance to conventional methods of bacterial infection treatment don’t necessarily make the strains more virulent, but they are more dangerous. The strain can be a real bother in places where there are many items that many people use; hospital chairs, nursing home couches, and carpets.
It just takes a bit of imagination to find possible links between a carpet and how MRSA got there, a scenario made easier to visualise with the inclusion of an athlete in the home. Carriers can unwittingly bring the bacteria on their equipment or skin and then introduce it to the carpet. Carpet cleaners often have to categorise their services, in order to adjust to different threat levels.
Fortunately, for all the powers that MRSA has, it can only enter the body through direct contact with an open wound, and requires a compromised immune system to do any real damage. It can take weeks, or even years for an infected person to display any noticeable symptoms, contributing to the difficulty in treating the infection.
MRSA is a scary bug to have around the family, but it’s no reason to raise DefCon 4 on the carpet, or anything else that might carry the strain. Just keep everything clean and everything should be fine.