Excerpt from gratzindustries.blogspot.com
I hated to go but It was only going to get worse and I couldn’t endanger the other designers. So sad. Please don’t forget me. I was hospitalized for 5 days so I had no choice but to withdraw. I needed IV antibiotics around the clock. Thank you for all the well wishes. I am FULLY recovered. And actually some of the “talking head” clips were actually filmed after I got out of the hospital. Here’s the quote:
“It is a medical issue that Jack will face this week, but he tells us right up front it has nothing to do with him being HIV-positive–explaining that his immune system is not suppressed. But we’ll get to what he doesn’t have in a moment. What he does have is Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or “MRSA” for short.
MRSA, according to Wikipedia, is a resistant variation of the common bacterium Staphylococcus aureus. It’s also sometimes referred to as the “superbug,” as the combination of natural selection and over-prescribed antibiotic treatments has created a bacterium that’s stronger than anything we have to fight it with. (See? And you thought you were just tuning in to hear about darts and pleats.) Translation: the thing is as tough to kill as that shape-shifting metal robot in Terminator 2.
There are two strains of MRSA, one you typically get in hospitals where lots of people are sick and lots of people have open wounds, and one found in communities where sick people and wounded people aren’t usually in the room next door. Strangely, it’s the communal variety that’s the most dangerous. We don’t know from the brief clip which strain Jack has or where he got it, but if it’s the communal variety there’s more of a danger other people working in very close proximity could get infected.
Wikipedia does say that “current US guidance does not require workers in general workplaces (not healthcare facilities) with MRSA infections to be routinely excluded from going to work,” although it also notes that “workers with active infections should be excluded from activities where skin-to-skin contact is likely to occur until their infections are healed.” Let’s see, does carrying Christian around on your back in the workroom count? And when the presentation of symptoms can include things like “pus-filled boils,” “rashes,” and can lead to “flesh-eating pneumonia,” I think Jack and the producers probably decided to err on the side of caution.
As to what Jack doesn’t have: he doesn’t have AIDS. Jack has said that he is HIV-positive, but that’s not the same thing. Most HIV cases left untreated eventually lead to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), but treatments with retrovirals (i.e. that big bag of pill bottles Jack has with him) have radically increased the life-expectancy for HIV victims. People with weakened immune systems caused by AIDS are at greater risk for catching MRSA, but from what Jack’s told us there’s no connection between his HIV and his MRSA. The guy’s just incredibly unlucky.
And so are his fans. While some viewers have noted that Jack’s condition may not actually mean he has to leave the show for good, I think the clips are a prelude to Jack announcing that he is withdrawing from the competition. He’s got his hand to his nose all morning before meeting Heidi on the runway, and he wonders aloud if he can sew with one hand. Contagious or not, Jack’s affliction would make it incredibly difficult for him to produce under the kind of pressure and deadlines required by Project Runway.