What is MRSA?
MRSA stands for Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus.
Staphylococcus Aureus (known as SA) is a common type of bacteria that lives on the skin or in the nose of about one in three people, without causing any harm. Most of these people have no idea they’re carrying the infection and don’t experience any symptoms. If the bacteria finds a way inside the body through a cut or graze in the skin the individual may experience minor problems, such as skin infections, abscesses, impetigo, or boils. SA can cause more problems if it finds a way into the bloodstream, resulting in stronger infections and more dangerous complications.
In the past SA infections were treated with antibiotics, such as methicillin, however over the years, with people not finishing their course of tablets and the bacteria being able to successfully mutate, SA has become immune to a wide range of antibiotics and is now very difficult to treat. These bacteria are classified as methicillin-resistant SA (MRSA) – nick-named “superbugs” because of their resistance to antibiotics.
Treatment of MRSA still involves antibiotics, but over a much longer period of time with much stronger doses, and this can lead to serious complications for the body. A small number of people die each year from MRSA.
This article on MRSA is written by Jackie Griffiths, a freelance journalist who writes health, medical, biological, and pharmaceutical articles for national and international journals, newsletters and web sites.
How do you get MRSA?
MRSA is transmitted from person to person, usually via the hands, but can also be passed on through contact with objects in the environment that have the bacteria on them, such as towels, sheets, clothes, door handles, taps, etc.
However it’s important to remember that the vast majority of fit, healthy people will not be affected by the bug as they do not have entry points for the bacteria to penetrate beyond the skin. People who are already in hospital are more susceptible to getting MRSA as they’re more likely to be using catheter tubes, surgical wounds, or intravenous drips etc. which act as easy entry points for the bacteria.