MRSA

  • Medical Author:

    Sandra Gonzalez Gompf, MD, FACP is a U.S. board-certified Infectious Disease subspecialist. Dr. Gompf received a Bachelor of Science from the University of Miami, and a Medical Degree from the University of South Florida. Dr. Gompf completed residency training in Internal Medicine at the University of South Florida followed by subspecialty fellowship training there in Infectious Diseases under the directorship of Dr. John T. Sinnott, IV.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Read about MRSA infection symptoms and signs.

MRSA Symptoms and Signs

Superbug Staph Spread in Community

Community-associated MRSA infections usually affect the skin, causing pimples and boils in otherwise healthy people. Infected areas may be red, swollen, painful, and have pus or other drainage.

Quick GuideMRSA Infection: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

MRSA Infection: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

MRSA infections facts

  • Staphylococcus aureus (Staph aureus, S. aureus, or SA) is a common bacteria (a type of germ) in the nose and on the skin of people and animals.
  • MRSA means "methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus." It is a specific "staph" bacteria (a type of germ) that is often resistant to (is not killed by) several types of antibiotic treatments. Most S. aureus is methicillin-susceptible (killed by methicillin and most other common treatments).
  • In general, healthy people with no cuts, abrasions, or breaks on their skin are at low risk for getting infected.
  • About one out of every three people (33%) are estimated to carry staph in their nose, usually without any illness. About two in 100 (2%) carry MRSA. Both adults and children may have MRSA.
  • Like common S. aureus (SA), MRSA may cause deep (invasive) or life-threatening infections in some people. Because it is resistant to commonly used antibiotics, it can be harder to treat or become worse if the right treatment is delayed. MRSA is one of the bacteria listed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as a "superbug" resistant to multiple antibiotics.
  • MRSA infections can be picked up either in the general community (community-acquired or CA-MRSA) or in health-care facilities (health-care-acquired or HA-MRSA). In the hospital, MRSA can cause wound infections after surgery, pneumonia (lung infection), or infections of catheters inserted into veins. Invasive MRSA infections include heart valve infection, bone infections, abscesses in organs, joint infections, or bloodstream infection (sepsis, "blood poisoning").
  • Because HA-MRSA can be life-threatening, the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) and Emerging Infections Program (EIP) of the CDC monitor hospital MRSA rates. The CDC also advises hospitals and health professionals about preventing and lowering MRSA infection rates.
  • Rates of MRSA bloodstream infections in hospitalized patients fell nearly 50% from 1997-2007 since hospitals began using prevention measures. MRSA is transmitted from person to person by direct contact with the skin, inhaling droplets from coughing, or items touched by someone who has MRSA (for example, sink, bench, bed, and utensils). People can be carriers of MRSA even if they don't have an infection. This is called colonization. A common place for MRSA colonization with MRSA is inside the nose.
  • One way to keep visitors and health-care staff from carrying MRSA from one patient to others is to follow CDC-guided precautions by wearing disposable gloves and gowns (and sometimes masks) when visiting hospitalized people who have MRSA. A sign at the door provides instructions that should be carefully followed. Continue Reading
Reviewed on 5/4/2016
References
REFERENCES:

Baorto, Elizabeth P. "Staphylococcus aureus Infections.: Medscape.com. Apr. 27, 2016. <http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/971358-overview>.

Herchline, Thomas E. "Staphylococcal Infections." Medscape.com. Apr. 25, 2016. <http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/228816-overview>.

Kallen, A.J., S. Bulens, A. Reingold, et al. "Health Care-Associated Invasive MRSA Infections, 2005-2008." JAMA 304 (2010): 641-648.

IMAGES:

1. CDC - National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)

2. CDC - James Gathany

3. CDC

4. MedicineNet

5. iStock

6. Getty Images

7. iStock

8. MedicineNet

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10. Getty Images

11. iStock

12. iStock

13. iStock

14. iStock

15. CDC/MedicineNet

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