Communicable Diseases
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA)

​Summary:

  • MRSA is a bacterial infection that is resistant to antibiotics and causes inflammations in the body. 
  • ​MRSA infection is spread through contact with an infected person. This could be skin-to-skin contact or from personal items that have touched the infected skin.
  • Symptoms and severity vary based on the location of the infection in the body. 
  • The infection can be treated with antibiotics or surgery.
  • The most important prevention method is regular hand washing.

Overview:
Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection is caused by a type of staph bacteria that has become resistant to many of the antibiotics used to treat ordinary staph infections. It may cause inflammation of the skin and other areas. It is found in places where people use antibiotics frequently. 

Other Names:
Staphylococcus aureus, methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, MRSA

Cause:
Bacteria is naturally present on human skin and does not cause any problems. However, it may lead to minor skin infections and become more dangerous if transmitted into internal organs and parts of the body, such as: The blood stream, joints, bones, lungs and heart. It is caused by using antibiotics in large quantities in a wrong unsupervised manner.

Transmission:
The bacteria can be transmitted from a person to another as it has the ability to live long enough on the surfaces of non-living things, such as: Pillowcases or towels. It can also live in dry places, high temperatures, stomach acid, or high levels of salt. It can be transmitted through:
  • Contact with an infected person;
  • Crowded places;
  • Sharing personal tools, such as: Shaving razors, and others; 
  • Touching contaminated surfaces, such as: Door knobs and others.
  • Contact with animals carrying the infection.

Risk factors:
  • Immunodeficiency;
  • Skin with cuts or scrapes.

Who is at highest risk?
  • People in hospitals, health care facilities, and nursing homes;
  • The elderly;
  • Health care professionals and workers;
  • Dialysis patients;
  • People with immunodeficiency; 
  • People with skin burns.

Symptoms:
They range from minor skin problems to Endocarditis (inflammation of the inner lining of the heart). The symptoms vary based on the location and severity of the infection. It usually starts as:
  • Swollen, painful red bumps that might resemble pimples or spider bites;
  • Fever; 
  • The affected area being painful and warm to the touch
  • Inflammation of some organs. 

When to see a doctor?
  • If you see minor skin problems, such as the appearance of blisters, insect bites, wounds, and scratches, especially in children; 
  • If wounds appear infected or are accompanied by a fever;
  • If there is skin redness and irritation accompanied by pain.

Complications:
  • Skin infections
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pneumonia
  • Blood poisoning

Treatment:
Infection may need medications and treatment methods that are different from those used for other kinds of staph infections. The treatment may include:
  • Antibiotics: Some tests are conducted to identify the type of bacteria causing the infection. Based on that, the suitable antibiotic is prescribed for the patient.
  • Surgery:  If the infection was surrounded by an implanted organ or prosthesis, they must be removed immediately. Removing some devices requires surgical intervention.
  • If the infection was found on the skin: Your doctor may drain the skin boil or abscess and cover the wound with a clean dressing or bandage.  

Prevention:
  • There is no vaccine for MRSA.
  • Health care professionals and workers must wear protective clothing. Follow correct hand washing methods. 
  • Keep wounds clean and sterile until they heal.
  • Correctly clean contaminated surfaces and items used for washing.
  • Keep places clean.
  • Wash hands regularly with soap and water. 
  • Avoid sharing personal items, such as: Towels, bed sheets, shaving razors, clothes, and sports equipment.
  • Avoid touching other people’s bandages or wounds.
  • Take a bath after doing sports.
  • Clean bed sheets if the person sleeping on them has wounds or sores.
Clinical Education General Department
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Last Update : 15 July 2020 05:14 AM
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