MRSA - Treatment & Prevention
What Is MRSA and How Is It Transmitted?
Methiciliin resistant staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, is an antibiotic resistant strain of staph infection which, as with Staphylococcus aureus, produces infections such as cellulitis, boils, abscesses, stys, impetigo and carbuncles. Normal staph infections can be dealt with using antibiotic treatment. However if the infection develops into MRSA and is resistant to treatment, infections can become worse or even spread to internal organs.
Transmitted by physical contact or by touching objects that have been in contact with infected people, MRSA infections can move quickly through homes, hospitals, schools and dormitories, and anywhere people are in close contact. Once in motion, MRSA is very difficult to halt.
To diagnose MRSA, a skin sample, blood, urine or other biopsy material is sent to a lab where a culture is done to verify what type of staph infection is present. Once the staph bacteria are isolated, they are exposed to different types of antibiotics to check for resistance. If Staphylococcus aureus manages to grow in methicillin - a type of antibiotic - then the staph bacteria is labeled MRSA. The person diagnosed as infected with MRSA is given many types of antibiotics to see which one will be effective against the infection.
The best way to avert MRSA infection is to avoid contact with any people or items that have been in contact with MRSA infected individuals or carriers of MRSA. Since it is virtually impossible to know who the carriers are, and in many cases, which are infected with MRSA, it is important to take other precautions to avoid infections. Treat and cover any wounds or breaks in the skin using proper hygiene products, antiseptic creams and band-aids. Wash hands often, especially after being with people who are exhibiting signs of boils, impetigo or other skin disorders which are known to be contagious. It is a good idea to clean surfaces of tables and counters after having been in contact with infected people.
Can It Be Cured?
Statistics made available by the Kaiser foundation in 2007 have shown that approximately 1.2 million people who have been hospitalized have MRSA and the mortality rate is estimated to be between 4% to 10%. (http://www.kaisernetwork.org/daily_reports/rep_index.cfm?DR_ID=45809). There is less risk if the person is doing well with treatment, but MRSA can still prove to be deadly. The good news is that MRSA can be treated by certain antibiotics and testing can provide information as to which methods are best to either kill the bacteria or treat it effectively.