MRSA (Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus) Infections

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MRSA infections facts

  • MRSA means methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus bacteria.
  • The majority of MRSA infections are classified as CA-MRSA (community acquired) or HA-MRSA (hospital- or health-care-acquired).
  • MRSA infections are transmitted from person to person by direct contact with the skin, clothing, or area (for example, sink, bench, bed, and utensil) that had recent physical contact with a MRSA-infected person.
  • The majority of CA-MRSA starts as skin infections; HA-MRSA can begin an infection of the skin, a wound (often a surgical site), or a location where medical devices are placed (catheters, IV lines, or other devices).
  • Cellulitis, abscess, or draining pus is often one of the first signs and symptoms of MRSA infections.
  • Most MRSA infections are diagnosed by culture and antibiotic sensitivity testing of Staphylococcus aureus bacteria isolated from an infected site; a PCR test is also available.
  • Currently, MRSA bacteria are almost always found to be resistant to multiple antibiotics. All isolated MRSA strains need to have antibiotic susceptibility determined to choose the correct or appropriate antibiotic therapy.
  • Treatment of HA-MRSA frequently involves the use of vancomycin, often in combination with other antibiotics given by IV; CA-MRSA can often be treated on an outpatient basis with specific oral or topical antibiotics, but some serious CA-MRSA infections (for example, pneumonia) often require appropriate antibiotics by IV.
  • Prevention of MRSA is possible by excellent hygiene practices, avoiding skin contact with infected people or items they have touched, and by wearing disposable gloves, gowns, and masks when treating or visiting hospitalized MRSA patients. Covering skin abrasions and minor lacerations immediately may also help prevent MRSA infections, especially in children and in people involved in group sports activities.
  • MRSA is considered to be one of the 18 microbes listed by the CDC as a multidrug-resistant microbe or "superbug."
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/11/2013

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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.


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