Staphylococcus Aureus Sickens Donna D'Errico, Reports Say: Where Did Germs Come From?

Donna D'Errico at Cannes Film Festival on May 16, 2009 in Cannes, France. (Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)
Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images
Donna D'Errico at the Cannes Film Festival on May 16, 2009 in Cannes, France. (Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)


(CBS) Something is bugging Donna D'Errico - literally.

The former "Baywatch" star, who made headlines recently for complaining she had been singled out for extra screening at Los Angeles International Airport, has been hospitalized for treatment of a serious staph infection, according to a popular gossip website.

D'Errico is being treated for an infection caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), according to TMZ. She was thought to have contracted the infection from a relative who was being treated in a hospital ICU.

That's a common scenario. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns about the risk of contracting MRSA while visiting someone in the hospital. "Casual contact - such as kissing, hugging, and touching - is usually acceptable," according to the agency's website. " Visitors should avoid touching catheters or wound sites and should wash their hands before leaving an infected person's room."

MRSA infections are hard to treat because the germs that cause them are resistant to penicillin and other common antibiotics. In one recent year, serious MRSA infections sickened more than 94,000 Americans, according to the CDC. More than 18,000 died while hospitalized for treatment of MRSA.

D'Errico isn't taking any chances. On her Facebook page, TMZ reported, she posted a status update reading "Prayer request - this time for me - a serious medical issue has arisen. Thank you for any and all prayers."