Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a potentially serious infection that resists antibiotics. MRSA can affect the skin, blood, bones, or lungs. A person can either be infected or colonized with MRSA.
There are two types of MRSA infections:
MRSA can spread several ways:
MRSA is caused by specific bacteria that resist antibiotics. Over time, bacteria adapt to repeated exposure to antibiotics, building up a resistance to them.
Factors that may increase your chance of developing MRSA include:
MRSA may not cause any symptoms in people who are colonized, but not infected, with the bacteria. In those that have symptoms, MRSA may cause:
Infected Hair Follicle—Folliculitis
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Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
Your bodily fluids and tissues may be tested. This can be done with:
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment options include the following:
Antibiotics are given to kill the bacteria. Only a few antibiotics are available that can treat MRSA.
Your doctor may open the abscess and allow the fluid to drain. Do not attempt to do this on your own.
Do the following to treat the infection and to keep it from spreading:
Decolonization is a process to help rid your body of the bacteria so you do not reinfect yourself. This process may involve using nasal ointments, washing with special soap, and taking medications, including antibiotics. Decolonization is only recommended in certain cases.
To help reduce your chance of getting MRSA:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Public Health Agency of Canada
Barton M, Hawkes M, et al. Guidelines for the prevention and management of community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus : A perspective for Canadian health care practitioners. Can J Infect Dis Med Microbiol. 2006;17(Suppl C):4C.
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated August 7, 2014. Accessed August 18, 2014.
MRSA decolonization. Aurora BayCare Medical Center website. Available at: http://www.aurorahealthcare.org/FYWB_pdfs/baycare/x34012bc.pdf . Accessed August 18, 2014.
Seasonal flu and staph infection. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/qa/flustaph.htm. Updated February 8, 2011. Accessed August 18, 2014.
MRSA. Nemours Foundation Kids Health website. Available at: http://kidshealth.org/parent/infections/bacterial_viral/mrsa.html. Updated June 2014. Accessed August 18, 2014.
Last reviewed August 2014 by Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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