10 Things You Should Know About MRSA (Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus)
by Analy Gonzalez
The increased overuse of antibiotics in medicine and even in the food industry has given rise to many strains of antibiotic resistant bacteria. Many of these ‘superbugs ‘ have become problematic, one of them being Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA. Here are ten things you should know about MRSA.
The human body is home to many species of bacteria, most of them harmless and a lot of them necessary for survival. Staphylococcus aureus is part of the normal flora in about 25% to 30% of the population. Only 2% of the human population carries Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus.
1. As the name implies, MRSA is resistant to Methicillin and other common antibiotics belonging to the beta-lactams group such as: oxacillin, penicillin, and amoxicillin.
2. MRSA is highly contagious as it is spread through physical contact.
3. Most MRSA infections were seen in hospitals and other health care facilities because of its tendency to infect open wounds or surgical sites(this type of MRSA is referred to as Healthcare-Associated MRSA or HA-MRSA) but today they are becoming more common within communities (community-associated MRSA or CA-MRSA).
4. Since MRSA has become more common it can occur anywhere, to anybody, but there are people who are at higher risk than others, such as people who have been recently hospitalized or attended other health facilities.
5. MRSA most commonly affects the skin and present itself as a normal staph infection, but its ability to resist antibiotics can allow it to spread and eventually infect the bloodstream, lungs, heart, bones and joints. In such cases, MRSA can become fatal.
6. MRSA starts like any common staph infection as a red bump (usually these bumps look like small pimples or boils, sometimes even resembling spider bites). As the infection progresses the bumps may become large and painful and may require draining.
7. MRSA is diagnosed one of two ways, by swabbing the area around the staph wound or boil and growing it on a nutrient plate (this process takes about 48 hours), or by doing newer tests that detect staph DNA in a matter of minutes.
8. Treatment for MRSA infections includes rounds of antibiotics that the strain is not resistant to, and draining the boils caused by the infection. More severe cases of MRSA may require surgery or other antimicrobial procedures.
9. Hospitals take very serious measures in order to prevent HA-MRSA outbreaks for example, new patients are tested for the bacteria in order to determine whether or not they are carriers. If positive for MRSA, patients are placed in isolation and further preventive measures are taken concerning visitors and health-care workers.
10. Preventing CA-MRSA is also possible if the following steps are taken:
- Wash your hands regularly.Keep wounds covered to prevent contamination.
- Do not share personal items (ex: towels, sheets, razors).
- Shower after athletic activities.
- Sanitize sheets and clothing if you have a cut or sore that could become infected, and after athletic activities.
MRSA. WebMD- http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/understanding-mrsa-methicillin-resistant-staphylococcus-aureus
Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/mrsa/DS00735