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Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) by John Merz

By at October 13, 2011 | 7:46 am | Print

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a strain of the Staphylococcus bacteria that is not affected by the usual antibiotics used to treat staph infections.  Because it is resistant to antibiotics, it is a more serious infection as it is difficult to treat.  MRSA can be found in any place where other treatable staph infections are located.  It is common to have staph bacteria living on the surface of your skin and inside your nasal passages.  While present at these sites the bacteria are not currently dangerous.  Coming in contact with an open wound, sore, or any location it can get under the skin will cause infection.

MRSA does not always cause serious infections.  In minor cases MRSA will inflame areas of the skin causing acne breakouts.  It will become serious if it does enter inside the skin, which will cause tissue damage.  Because of this it is necessary for hospitals to keep open wounds sterilized to prevent contamination of staph in the tissue.  During surgery while the patient is being operated on it is possible for the bacteria to enter the site of operation and affect the tissue inside.  As a result inflammation and infection of major organs can occur from surgeries.

Serious infection sites are as follows: in or around major organs, in inner lying tissues, inside of bones, and in blood tissue.  Break out of MRSA in any of these locations can be fatal.  Since antibiotics do not tend to treat MRSA infections, it is common for follow up surgery to take place in order to drain build up of fluid and pus caused at the infection site, as well as direct administration of antibiotics on the infection and disinfectants applied.

Hospitals are the leading location to receive a serious MRSA infection.  Due to the amount of staph bacteria present in hospitals, patients are more susceptible to come in contact with it.  However, MRSA has a very low percentage of infections compared to regular staph bacteria due to fewer people carrying the MRSA strain.

Regular staphylococcus and its more dangerous relative, MRSA, cause the same problems. But, MRSA is more dangerous because it cannot be treated the same way.  The name Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus explains its resistance to antibiotics.  Methicillin is an antibiotic used to treat staph infections.  A strain resistant to Methicillin was rightfully named as Methicillin-resistant, but has been found to be resistant to many other antibiotics.  Staphylococcus, like all other bacteria, can adapt to become resistant to antibiotics.

Ways of preventing MRSA outbreaks are fairly simple.  Keeping your skin clean and free of bacteria is the primary way of prevention.  Following safety procedures in hospitals, like keeping clear of open wounds, is a way of avoiding contaminating other people.  Make sure cuts and scrapes are disinfected so they do not have a chance to harbor the bacteria.

Coughing, muscle aches, fatigue, and swelling are all common symptoms when dealing with a staph infection.  Rashes and pus filled sores are severe areas where staph infections are occurring.  If symptoms such as these take place it is best to visit a doctor to seek medical treatment for the infection.  Blood work and urinalysis are done to find the bacteria and the strain.  Follow the doctor’s orders as directed.  Even if diagnosed with MRSA and prescribed an antibiotic, it is essential to take and finish the prescription.  There are small occurrences where MRSA can be fought off with the antibiotics to which it is resistant.  It is also important to finish the treatment even if the symptoms are gone and the patient feels better.  Just because one feels better does not mean the ailment has been cured and relapse is possible from not being thorough.

REFERENCES: MRSA

PubMed Health- MRSA: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0004520/

CDC- MRSA: http://www.cdc.gov/mrsa/index.html

MedicineNet- MRSA:  http://www.medicinenet.com/mrsa_infection/article.htm

MedicineNet- Staph infection:  http://www.medicinenet.com/staph_infection/article.htm

MedicineNet- Methicillin:  http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=24074

 

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  1. […] MRSA stands for Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, a Gram-positive bacterium resistant to methicillin. In the United States, MRSA is the 10th leading cause of death in humans. It can cause wound infections, cellulitis, sepsis, meningitis, pneumonia, food poisoning, toxic shock syndrome, etc. S. aureus is a prevalent bacteria commonly carried in the nose or on the skin of people or animals. In fact, it is one of the most common skin problems in the U.S. Roughly 25 to 40% of humans carry the bacteria on their bodies, but don’t exhibit signs of the disease. In other words, around a quarter of the human population is “colonized” by S. aureus, (primarily in the nasal passages). Looking at the methicillin resistant strain, MRSA, about 1% of the population is colonized. Those that develop signs of disease as a result of S. aureus are known to be “infected”. […]

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