Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a
type of bacteria that is resistant to certain antibiotics. These
antibiotics include methicillin and other more common antibiotics such
as amoxicillin, oxacillin and penicillin. Staph infections, including
MRSA, occur most frequently among persons in hospitals and health care
facilities (such as nursing homes and dialysis centers) who have
weakened immune systems.
Serious MRSA disease is still predominantly
related to exposures to
health care delivery:
Although the rates of disease varied between the geographically
diverse sites participating in the surveillance, overall rates of
disease were consistently highest among older persons (age >65),
Blacks, and males.
- About 85% of all invasive MRSA infections
were associated with
health care, and of those, about two-thirds occurred outside of the
hospital, while about one third occurred during hospitalization.
- About 14% of all the infections occurred
in persons without
obvious exposures to health care.
Staph and MRSA can also cause illness in persons outside of hospitals
and healthcare facilities.
Basic infection control practices are key to the prevention and control
of MRSA in healthcare settings. The following resources provide
recommendations for the prevention and control of many
health-care-associated diseases and infections including infections
drug resistant organisms such as MRSA.
Here for Information
About MRSA for Healthcare Personnel
MRSA infections that are acquired by persons who have not been recently (within
the past year) hospitalized or had a medical procedure (such as
dialysis, surgery, catheters) are know as Community Associated MRSA or
Associated MRSA or CA-MRSA Infections
Staph or MRSA infections in the community are usually manifested as
skin infections, such as pimples and boils, and occur in otherwise
The topic of MRSA
that has been in the news quite a bit is related to schools. Over the past
several years, MRSA has emerged in the school community as one of the
common causes of skin infections. These infections may appear as small
pustules or boils, which are often red, swollen, painful, or have pus
associated with them. They commonly occur at sites of visible skin
trauma, such as cuts or abrasions, or can occur at sites commonly
covered by hair on the body, like the back of the neck, groin, buttock,
armpit, or the bearded area of men. It's also important to mention that
although rarely occurring in healthy people, more serious infections
can occur, such as pneumonia, bloodstream infections, and bone
infections. However, most of the life-threatening MRSA infections are
associated with health care.
sometimes hear MRSA referred to as a “super bug” in the
media. That doesn't mean that MRSA
has no cure. There are still a
number of antibiotics available
for treatment. The
infections we hear about happening in schools are MRSA skin infections
and most of these infections may not need antibiotics at all. Usually,
the first-line treatment for these skin infections is drainage. And of
course, drainage of these skin infections should only be done by your
Here for Community-Associated
Infection Prevention and Control
usually transmitted by direct skin-to-skin
contact or contact with shared items or surfaces that have come into
contact with someone else’s infection, for example, a towel you might
use for bathing or used bandages. Certain factors have been associated
with making it easier for MRSA to be transmitted. These factors include
crowding; frequent skin-to-skin contact; compromised skin, such as cuts
and abrasions; contaminated items or surfaces; and lack of cleanliness.
Some settings where these factors are common include schools,
dormitories, military barracks, households, correctional facilities,
and daycare centers. Now while MRSA infections are commonly reported
from these settings, it’s important to emphasize that MRSA is a
prevalent cause of skin infections in the general community and can
occur essentially anywhere.
a number of things that people can do to
protect themselves—many simple measures. The first and probably the
most important step is to practice good hygiene:
important, if you participate
in activities where there is frequent skin-to-skin contact, like
exercise or sports, you should shower immediately after participating
in those activities. Also, people should cover all their skin cuts and
abrasions, to prevent them from getting infected. They
should be covered by clean, dry bandages until healed.
- Keep your hands clean by washing
thoroughly with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Keep cuts and scrapes clean and covered
with a bandage until healed.
- Avoid contact with other people’s wounds
- Avoid sharing personal items such as
towels or razors.
avoid sharing all personal items that come into direct contact with
skin and barrier-like clothing or a towel
should also be used between skin and shared equipment like
weight-training benches. And finally, high-touch surfaces or surfaces
that you frequently contact with your hands should be kept clean, and
also other surfaces that might come into direct contact with people’s
skin should be cleaned routinely.
For more information about MRSA, please
check Invasive MRSA Fact Sheet (pdf)
information that affects you, your family and your community, please