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Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) by Nick Ferrugia

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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. 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”.

MRSA is spread by contact, including touching objects that have the bacteria on them. This is why nosocomial MRSA or hospital-associated MRSA is prevalent. Infections often appear around surgical wounds, or invasive devices such as catheters, the primary source of MRSA infections. It is for this reason that hospital employees, such as nurses and doctors, are urged to frequently sanitize their hands and the equipment that is used on patients.

Although S. aureus can be treated with antibiotics, it poses a major concern. Over time, certain strains such as MRSA, have adapted to the continuous usage (of these antibiotics). Throughout the past 51 years, it has become multi-drug resistant, prevailing over the once efficacious remedies including methicillin (MRSA), amoxicillin, penicillin, oxacillin, as well as many other antibiotics. This antibiotic resistance likely accounts for the sharp increase in MRSA rates worldwide, since the end of the last century. A good solution to this problem is to be proactive, especially in hospitals, sanitizing body parts and equipment used. Another good solution is striving to find other remedies that are not antibiotics, such as tea tree oil, to treat MRSA.

“AVMA”. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus

“Journal of Hospital Infection”. Tea tree oil as an alternative topical decolonization agent for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus

“WebMD”. Understanding MRSA Infection


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