Staph Infection - Antibiotic Resistant

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Were you, a friend, or relative diagnosed with MRSA? Please describe your experience with antibiotic resistant Staph aureus.

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What is antibiotic-resistant Staph aureus?

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, known as MRSA, is a type of Staphylococcus aureus that is resistant to the antibiotic methicillin and other drugs in the same class, including penicillin, amoxicillin, and oxacillin. MRSA is one example of a so-called "superbug," an informal term used to describe a strain of bacteria that has become resistant to the antibiotics usually used to treat it. MRSA first appeared in patients in hospitals and other health facilities, especially among the elderly, the very sick, and those with an open wound (such as a bedsore) or catheter in the body. In these settings, MRSA is referred to as health care-associated MRSA (HA-MRSA).

MRSA has since been found to cause illness in the community outside of hospitals and other health facilities and is known as community-associated MRSA (CA-MRSA) in this setting. MRSA in the community is associated with recent antibiotic use, sharing contaminated items, having active skin diseases or injuries, poor hygiene, and living in crowded settings. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that about 12% of MRSA infections are now community-associated, but this percentage can vary by community and patient population.

MRSA infections are usually mild superficial infections of the skin that can be treated successfully with proper skin care and antibiotics. MRSA, however, can be difficult to treat and can progress to life-threatening blood or bone infections because there are fewer effective antibiotics available for treatment.

The transmission of MRSA is largely from people with active MRSA skin infections. MRSA 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, sports equipment) contaminated by the infected skin of a person with MRSA. Just as S. aureus can be carried on the skin or in the nose without causing any disease, MRSA can be carried in this way also. In contrast to the relatively high (25%-30%) percentage of adults who are colonized by Staph aureus in the nose (these people have Staph bacteria present that do not cause illness), only about 2% of healthy people carry MRSA in the nose. There are no symptoms associated with carrying Staph in general or MRSA in the nose.

A drug known as mupirocin (Bactroban) has been shown to be effective in some cases for treating and eliminating MRSA from the nose of healthy carriers, but decolonization (treating of carriers to remove the bacteria) is usually not recommended unless there has been an outbreak of MRSA or evidence that an individual or group of people may be the source of the outbreak.

More recently, strains of Staph aureus have been identified that are resistant to the antibiotic vancomycin (Vancocin), which is normally effective in treating Staph infections. These bacteria are referred to as vancomycin-intermediate-resistance S. aureus (VISA) and vancomycin-resistant Staph aureus (VRSA).

Return to Staph Infection (Staphylococcus Aureus)

See what others are saying

Comment from: viplounger, 19-24 Female (Caregiver) Published: March 18

My daughter is 22. Over the last year she has had 5 operations to drain the MRSA infections; she has had 2 on the front of her vaginal region and the other three under her arms. I don"t know how she got it. I just wish it would go away. She is in hospital today, she has multiple infections under her arm. It's impossible to move her arm upwards due to the intense pain. She went to the hospital on Saturday and this new surgeon turned her away and told her they would go away with antibiotics. I knew they wouldn"t. But she is in there today I'm sure they won't turn her away today. I wish that everyone who has this will one day be totally cured. Good luck people.

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Comment from: d, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: May 23

I had a staph infection in my throat and got my tonsils out. The infection went to my hip when I was 16; that was in 1971. I was in the hospital and very sick with high fever and pain. They didn't clean out the joint, then I got another staph that went up my butt. Doctors cut it out. I always had nail infections and developed MRSA in my eye. I cut my toe on a wire and got it in my toe. I was unable to walk at age 40 and on a cane and in a wheel chair. I had severe neck and back pain. I had a hip replacement, neck surgery and back surgery. I had thumb surgery for arthritis. My body was twisted. I got severe vertigo. I went to a dermatologist who put me on doxycycline for something unrelated. My body became straight and my arthritis conditions improved. Most importantly I am able to walk without assistance. I am currently back on my exercise program. I am still in some pain but nothing like before.

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