5 MRSA 'Hot Spots'
MRSA Loves Gyms, Barracks, Prisons, Schools -- and Your Nose
Daniel J. DeNoon
Reviewed By Louise Chang, MD
Where in your community can you find the drug-resistant staph germs known as MRSA? The surprising answer: They're closer than you may think.
With all the buzz about MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), it's easy to forget there really are two MRSA epidemics going on at the same time.
By far the largest epidemic is going on inside hospitals and other health care facilities. The staph bug causing these infections resists treatment with a broad range of antibiotics. Because it attacks so many people with weakened immune systems, hospital-acquired MRSA accounts for the vast majority of fatal MRSA infections.
But another, unrelated strain of MRSA is circulating in communities across the U.S. This strain is resistant to first-lineantibiotics.
News that MRSA is now killing at least 19,000 Americans each year has focused public attention on community-acquired MRSA. Where does it lurk? WebMD asked epidemiologist Jeff Hageman, one of the scientists tracking MRSA at the CDC.
"We see outbreaks in settings where there is crowding, a lot of skin contact, and, often, a lack of good hygiene," Hageman tells WebMD.