MRSA methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus By Karen S. Rawlins, BA, CDPT
Definition Caused by Staphylococcus aureus bacteria – “staph” Resistant to the antibiotics commonly used for staph Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) can be fatal Healthcare-associated (HA-MRSA) Community-associated (CA-MRSA)
MRSA Staph infections (including MRSA) generally start as small red bumps that resemble pimples, boils or spider bites.
MRSA These can quickly turn into deep, painful abscesses that may require surgical draining or other care from your doctor.
MRSA Sometimes the bacteria stays just in the skin. But sometimes it penetrates into the bones, joints, surgical wounds, blood, heart valves and lungs.
WHO HAS IT? Staph is normally found on skin or in the nose in about 1/3 of population. Those who carry staph in this way are said to be “colonized” but not infected. Colonized people can be healthy, but pass the germ on to others. Staph are generally harmless unless they enter body through cut or wound. For older adults or those with weakened immune systems it can be very serious. Recently it has even spread to normally healthy people such as athletes who share equipment or personal items.
ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANCE Humans bear most of the responsibility for antibiotic resistance. Unnecessary antibiotic use. Antibiotics in food and water. Germ mutation.
RISK FACTORS CA-MRSA Young age. Participating in contact sports. Sharing towels or athletic equipment. Living in crowded or unsanitary conditions. Association with health care workers. HA-MRSA A current or recent hospitalization. Living in a long-term care facility. Invasive devices. Recent antibiotic use.
When to seek medical advice
SIGNS & SYMPTOMS Redness, warmth and tenderness Pus – a yellowish-white fluid that may have a foul smell Fever
TESTS & DIAGNOSIS Doctors diagnose MRSA with a tissue sample or by testing nasal secretions. The lab cultures the tissue or secretion sample (about 2 days). Newer tests can check for DNA (a few hours) .
TREATMENT& DRUGS Both HA-MRSA and CA-MRSA still respond to certain medications. Vancomycin is frequently used in the hospital.
PREVENTION Hospitals are tracking outbreaks Investigating alternative surfaces and materials BEST WAY TO PREVENT SPREAD: Washing hands and disinfecting surfaces Wear PPE when working with people infected with resistant bacteria
What you can do in your community Wash your hands Keep personal items personal Keep wounds covered Shower after athletic games or practices or other contact-type activities Sit out of contact activities if you have a concerning infection Sanitize linens Get tested Use antibiotics appropriately
If your infection isn’t improving after a few days of taking an antibiotic,contact your doctor.
Material adapted from www.mayoclinic.com/print/mrsa Downloaded March 10, 2009