CHICAGO (CBS) — A summit in Hinsdale later this month aims to educate people about MRSA — an epidemic that organizers say Chicago is considered to be a hot spot for.

MRSA Survivors Network president Jeanine Thomas says the National Institutes of Health called Chicago ground zero for MRSA — along with Baltimore — in 2009.

Thomas’ personal ordeal with MRSA began in 2001, when she contracted the infection during ankle surgery.

“It went into my bone marrow and I nearly died,” she said.

After recovering, Thomas went on to form the MRSA Survivors Network, which is putting on its ninth summit on Sept. 30 at Community House in Hinsdale. The event is free and open to the public.


“We still need a lot of awareness, and that’s what we do is raise awareness and educate the public about prevention of MRSA infections.”

Thomas says they see an uptick in infections this time of year in schools, adding, “With football, wrestling and different contact sports, we always see a breakout.”

She says some of the 17,000 people who contract drug-resistant MRSA in Illinois hospitals each year could prevent it by getting tested before going in and washing with an antiseptic.

An estimated seven percent of people in the Chicago-land area are carrying MRSA, but aren’t necessarily infected.

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