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Infectious Disease: MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus)

Infectious diseases are very dangerous to human health, while the failure of health care professionals to stop infections can provoke epidemics and the fast spread of a disease among large number of people. In this respect, it is possible to refer to MRSA, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, an infectious disease caused by staphylococcus aureus bacteria, which is often called “staph”. The bacteria can live on a person’s skin. People “colonized by the bacteria can get a cut on their skin and the bacteria can cause skin and soft tissue infections, such as cellulitis, abscesses, impetigo, folliculitis, and furunculosis (Hardy, et al, 2004). People who are not colonized but have a cut or scrape that is exposed to staph can also become infected. This infectious disease can be very dangerous to human health and it needs immediate treatment and professional assistance from the part of health care professionals. MRSA is a strain of staph that is resistant to the broad-spectrum antibiotics commonly used to treat it. In the most severe cases MRSA can be fatal.

In fact, MRSA is, in a way, caused by the development of modern science since the development and excessive use of penecillin antibiotics over the yeas has led to the development of stronger staph strains that are no longer killed by the penicillin-type antibiotics. MRSA is spread by direct skin-to-skin contact, sharing personal items such as towels, razors, and clothing, and touching surfaces that are contaminated with MRSA.

Often it is difficult to tell the difference between an ordinary staph infection and MRSA. However, a detailed examination can help in diagnosing the infection. The major signs of MRSA are: red bump that may be pus filled (sometimes mistaken for a spider bite); warmth; pain; swollen, red, tender skin lesions (Blot, et al, 2002). If a patient is diagnosed with MRSA, the antibiotic treatment can lead to little to no improvement after 2-3 days and the infection is spreading rapidly. For MRSA is an infectious disease, specialists recommend taking preventive measures, including: always maintain good hand-washing habits (washing with an antibacterial soap for at least 20 seconds while rubbing hands together); do not squeeze or attempt to drain any sore; keep any wound covered and clean until it has fully healed; avoid contact with other wounds; do not share personal items such as towels, razors, sheets, etc.; if a household has an infected person, it is necessary to wash laundry in hot, soapy water, with bleach if possible, and dry these items in a hot dryer (Ibarra, et al., 2008).

Specialists (Noskin, et al., 2005) stress that there is risk population which can contract the MRSA due to the dangerous environment in which people live or work. In this respect, it is possible to single out the following risk population: people with weak immune system; diabetics; people participating in contact sports or weight training; young children; elderly population; persons staying in health care facilities for an extended period of time; prisoners or anyone living in confined space with other people. people who spend much time in coastal waters where MRSA is present; soldiers in basic training.

Normally, it is rare for any staph infections to become life threatening in a healthy person. While MRSA is resistant to penicillin and penicillin-related antibiotics, it can be successfully treated with other antibiotics. As a rule, doctors prescribe the following antibiotics: Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, Clindamycin, Tetracyclines, Rifampin (Hardy, et al., 2004). It is important to finish all of the antibiotics, even if the infection appears to be healed. In some cases, especially if antibiotics are not working, doctors may swab the wound to obtain a culture. This helps to specifically identify the bacteria and choose the correct antibiotics. Sometimes, doctors may dray the infection if there is pus under the skin. This is essential so that the infection can completely heal (Mongkolrattanothai, et al., 2003).

In the future, the risk of the wide spread of MRSA is likely to increase, taking into consideration the wide use of antibiotics and growing resistance of bacteria to antibiotics. On the other hand, it is obvious that the risk of the development and spread of MRSA can be minimized when people follow the recommendations and preventive measures mentioned above. In this respect, it is important to lay emphasis on the fact that people who stay in confined spaces, including hospitals, should be particularly aware of the risk of the development of MRSA and take all the preventive measures to prevent the development of the infectious disease because prevention is more efficient and safer than treatment and it does not really need much efforts from the part of people.


Blot, S, et al. (2002). “Outcome and attributable mortality in critically Ill patients with bacteremia involving methicillin-susceptible and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus”. Arch Intern Med 162 (19): 2229–35.
Hardy, KJ, et al. (2004). “Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus in the critically ill”. British Journal of Anaesthesia 92: 121–30.
Ibarra, M, et al. (December 2008). “Prevalence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus nasal carriage in healthcare workers”. Pediatr. Infect. Dis. J. 27 (12): 1109–11.
Mongkolrattanothai, K, et al. (2003). “Severe Staphylococcus aureus infections caused by clonally related community-associated methicillin-susceptible and methicillin-resistant isolates”. Clin. Infect. Dis. 37 (8): 1050–8.
Noskin, G.A., et al. (2005). “The Burden of Staphylococcus aureus Infections on Hospitals in the United States: An Analysis of the 2000 and 2001 Nationwide Inpatient Sample Database”. Arch Intern Med 165: 1756–1761.

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