MARCoNs and Chronic Fatigue

August 15, 2016

MARCoNs. Are you tired all the time?


 Reference: Pakistan J Pharm Sci,   ‪

Ever heard of MARCONS? Pubmed calls it MRCoNs and it stands for Methicillin-Resistant Coagulase Negative Staph. If you pick your nose, you have Coagulase Negative staph bacteria on your finger. We all do. It lives in our nose and on our skin. (One study showed that 21% of surgeons have it). It's been part of "normal" human flora. That was before the antibiotic era.  

Then we started taking lots of antibiotics, and that natural staph flora got resistant.  It's what you would expect. The reason it's a big issue is that this represents one of the means by which superbugs are beginning to inflict pathology. Rather than being just a minor nuisance, we are seeing the emergence of major problems from multiple antibiotic-resistant bacteria. ‪MARCoNs appears to play a role in chronic fatigue. 

Particularly those folks who have been exposed to mold and are tired all the time. No one can figure out what's going on. Regular testing by routine internal medicine shows nothing. These folks feel worn out and can't explain why they are so tired. They get labeled as having Lyme disease or any number of chronic symptoms, but they don't get better. ‪What's going on? MARCONs appears to be part of what is happening. The bacteria makes a biofilm in the nose. A biofilm is a layer of mucus, cellular debris, white cells, fungi and any other gunk you can imagine that creates a habitat in which antibiotics don't easily penetrate.

 There are several stages to developing biofilms, but once formed they are hard to get rid of. We have a few labs that have specialized in testing for them, but it's a bit arcane, and some authors reference having to do 96 tests at a time in order to get them done, making for quite a high barrier to performance.  And inside you, there is a firestorm of inflammation.  That's what's going on, and to date, we have had a hard time measuring it, or finding it. ‪You diagnose MARCoNs as being a problem when you have at least two families of antibiotics to which you are resistant. Whole families, not simply one or two. Methicillin is one of the best penicillins for resisting staph, so it's primary role is why it's in the name. ‪

Treatment? This is where it gets tricky. Rifampin is a long standing staph antibiotic. Combine that with BEG nasal spray. BEG stands for Bactroban, EDTA and Gentamicin. The EDTA is a calcium chelator and helps dissolve the biofilm. Spray that into your nose three times a day for a couple of months, and you might clear up your infection. Will that fix your fatigue? Probably not. You likely have to then attack all the other problems associated with mold illness. Next week. ‪

WWW. What will work for me. Well, I've taken penicillin many times in my life. At age 16, I had my life saved by it when I was septic from a scraped knee. Now I have a damp basement with black stuff on the wall. (A couple of years ago. We've dried it out since.) But I completely see the emergence of antibiotic resistance with multiple chemical exposures resulting with folks who feel fatigued. Now what? We all need to learn the language and concepts. Some of it is likely hooey. Some of it is likely real. Let's find out. 

 ‪Pop Quiz

1. It's rare to have methicillin-resistant staph in your nose? T or F?                        Answer:  False really, and becoming increasingly common. ‪

2. Antibiotic resistance is decreasing with new antibiotics? T or F?             Answer:  ‪Nope. It's increasing. 

 ‪3. Biofilms make infections worse, and harder to clear up. T or F?                     Answer:  We are just beginning to understand their importance. They are a royal pain in the ...... ‪

4. You can cure MARCoNs with nasal spray called BEG. T or F?                      Answer:  Well, a trick question. You likely need Rifampin as an oral antibiotic along with it. ‪

5. What's the big rush to cure MARCoNs?                            Answer:   That's the key nugget. If you have chronic fatigue and no one knows why, this may be part of the missing link. Or it may be part of mold. Stay tuned.