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.

Quick GuideMRSA Infection: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

MRSA Infection: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

What is methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)?

Staphylococcus aureus (SA) is a common skin bacteria. It is sometimes called staph, and it can cause skin and other types of infections. Although S. aureus has been causing staph infections as long as humans have existed, MRSA has only been around since 1961. Methicillin was one of the first antibiotics used to treat S. aureus and other infections. S. aureus developed a gene mutation that allowed it to escape being killed by methicillin, so it became resistant to methicillin. That makes it harder to treat someone who gets an infection. Stronger, more expensive, or intravenous antibiotics may be needed.

Since the 1960s, MRSA has picked up more resistance to different antibiotics. Overuse of antibiotics has increased resistance in MRSA and other infectious bacteria, because resistance genes (the genes that code for resistance) can be passed from bacteria to bacteria.

If a doctor orders a test for bacteria on a specimen of pus, for example, the laboratory will alert the doctor if the test shows MRSA, so that precautions can be taken, and the right treatment can be started. 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

9. iStock

10. Getty Images

11. iStock

12. iStock

13. iStock

14. iStock

15. CDC/MedicineNet

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