Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus: Staphylococcus aureus (a type of staph bacteria)
resistant to the antibiotic methicillin. Abbreviated- MRSA. MRSA was first discovered in the UK
in 1961 among persons in hospitals and other health facilities, especially among the elderly and the very sick. MRSA has since been found to cause illness in the community outside of hospitals and other health facilities
and is now
widespread among the general public around the world.
MRSA infections typically cause skin lesions such as boils which may appear similar to a “spider
bite”. MRSA infections are usually mild superficial infections of the skin that can be treated successfully with proper
skin care and antibiotics. Without treatment or proper precautions MRSA can also cause severe spreading infections, growing
open and running abscesses, and other serious illness. It is sometimes referred to as the "flesh-eating
disease" causing large gaping wounds capable of extensive scarring. MRSA is commonly termed a Super Bug because it is highly infectious
and antibiotic resistant. For these reasons MRSA can be very difficult, timely, and costly to treat. In sever cases MRSA
can quickly turn into deep painful abscesses that may require daily hospital intravenous antibiotic treatments and surgical
People who are not in good
health, already ill, and with weakened immune systems may be at higher risk of contracting MRSA or more severe illness if
infected. MRSA can be difficult to treat and can progress to life-threatening blood or bone infections and pneumonia because there
are fewer effective antibiotics available for treatment. Some, including children and elderly experience sometimes fatal conditions and have died from MRSA.
MRSA in the community is often associated with recent antibiotic over-use, sharing contaminated
items, having active skin diseases, and living in crowded settings. Studies have
shown skin infections caused by MRSA have clustered among injecting drug-users, prison inmates, athletes in close-contact
sports, military recruits, children, elderly,
Homosexuals, HIV positive, and high-risk sex and drug-using behaviors. According
to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, outbreaks have also been linked to unlicensed body piercing and tattoo
The transmission of MRSA is largely from people with active MRSA skin infections and is almost
always spread by direct physical contact, and not through the air. Spread may also occur through indirect contact by touching
objects (such as towels, sheets, wound dressings, clothes, workout areas and sports equipment contaminated by the infected
skin of a person with MRSA. Just as staph aureus can be carried on the skin or in the nose without causing any disease, MRSA
can be carried in this way also. This is known as colonization.
If someone has an MRSA infection, they can help from spreading it by keeping infections, particularly
those that continue to produce pus or to drain material, covered with clean, dry bandages; by advising close contacts to wash
their hands frequently with soap and warm water, especially if they change the bandages or touch the infected wound or potentially
infectious materials; by not sharing personal items (such as towels, washcloth, razor, clothing) that may have had contact
with the infected wound; by washing linens and clothes with hot water and laundry detergent and drying them in a hot dryer;
and by telling healthcare providers that you have an antibiotic-resistant staph skin infection.
How can I prevent staph or MRSA skin infections?
Practice Good Hygiene:
- Keep your hands clean by washing thoroughly
with soap and hot water.
- Wiping hands and surfaces with an alcohol-based
- Keep cuts and scrapes clean and covered with
a bandage until healed.
- Avoid contact with other people’s wounds,
bandages, and clothing.
- Avoid sharing personal items such as towels,
razors, and utensils.
- Use a barrier (clothing or a towel) between
your skin and shared items and surfaces.
- Wiping surfaces of equipment and items before
and after use.
- Use good sanitary sense when dealing with
the public and public facilities.
- If possible avoid repeated long term or unnecessary
use of antibiotics.
- Stay well- maintain a healthy lifestyle, eating habits, and