What is methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)?

Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus or MRSA is a serious infection that is highly resistant to various commonly used antibiotics including methicillin where its name was derived. In the previous years, it is quite common in the healthcare setting, but recently emerged in the community as well.

The MRSA infections common in the community are skin infections. Once the infection develops in the healthcare setting, it is capable of triggering life-threatening infections involving the bloodstream, pneumonia and surgical infections.

Close look on staphylococcus aureus

Staphylococcus aureus is a bacterium that typically thrives in the nostrils. Children can carry the MRSA in the nose as well as the groin area. The rate among children increased recently and it is common for healthy children and adults to carry the bacteria. In most cases, this does not trigger any issues.

MRSA

MRSA can spread when engaging in activities that involve skin-to-skin contact such as sports, household settings and even day care.

Spread in the community

MRSA can spread when engaging in activities that involve skin-to-skin contact such as sports, household settings and even day care. Direct exposure with an infected wound is one way to acquire the condition.

Dormitories, locker rooms, day care centers and schools are high-risk areas for the spread of MRSA due to close person-to-person contact. It is important to note that sharing any items with an individual who was recently hospitalized can also spread the condition if the individual came in contact with MRSA.

Characteristic

Many individuals who acquire a skin infection might mistake the condition as a spider bite since it can appear as a darkened center bordered by a swollen area. In most cases, it appears as an inflamed reddened bump similar to a pimple with a rim of pus surrounding it and the wound is usually painful. An individual can end up with fever along with the wound.

Why MRSA is serious?

Always bear in mind that the condition is considered resistant to most of the antibiotics used to manage it. Nevertheless, many cases involving the bacteria do well and only localized in the skin. In rare occasions, the bacteria spread to the bloodstream or distant areas to trigger sepsis, bone infection, pneumonia or even organ damage.

Individuals who are in good health who end up with community-acquired MRSA will recover. Frequently, the infected wound might require incisions and drainage. In such cases, an antibiotic active against the bacteria is given and the full course should be completed.

How to reduce the risk

Always remember that good hygiene is vital in minimizing the risk along with the following:

  • Regular hand washing
  • Avoid sharing personal items
  • Any wounds such as scrapes or cuts must be cleaned and covered
  • Shower right away after engaging in activities that involves direct skin exposure with others

FACT CHECK

For more information on this topic, visit:

https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/understanding-mrsa#1

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/mrsa/symptoms-causes/syc-20375336

https://www.cdc.gov/mrsa/index.html

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