This article helps you understand what Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA is, whether it is contagious, and who are at the risk of MRSA infection.
MRSA is the abbreviated term for the bacterium Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. It is a strain of the bacteria Staphylococcus (or staph), which is resistant to methicillin, penicillin, oxacillin, and other commonly prescribed antibiotics. This bacterium can affect various parts of the human body. At times, MRSA infections can cause life-threatening conditions such as blood poisoning and pneumonia, which require immediate medical attention. It is the leading cause of skin and soft-tissue infections.
Is MRSA Contagious?
Similar to other staph infections, MRSA infection is contagious. It can be spread from one person to another person through direct or indirect contact, but not through air. In simpler terms, an individual can get this infection after touching an MRSA infected person or objects that have the bacterium. Even healthcare workers and/or attendants may get MRSA infections by touching the affected people or by handling the medical devices that are contaminated with the bacterium. Due to its ease of spreading, MRSA is often considered as a superbug.
It is estimated that about 30 percent of people have MRSA in the nose. In addition, it can be present in the skin, blood, and urine. Even though, there may not be any symptoms associated with such MRSA infestations, these individuals have the potential of spreading MRSA bacterium to other people.
According to medical researches, about 1 percent of the global population have this medical condition, which may be either carried without any symptoms or infected with manifestation of the symptoms. Also, MRSA infection accounts for more than 60 percent of the staph infections.
It is to be noted that this infection can be treated by administration of appropriate antibiotics. In comparison to other staph infection treatment, this medical condition is tough to treat, since the bacterial strain is resistant to some of the most commonly administered antibiotics. In healthy persons, it can be recovered even without taking therapeutic medications. For the effective treatment, it is recommended to take the complete dosage of the prescribed antibiotics. Otherwise, there are chances of recurrent infections.
Who are at Risk for MRSA Infection?
In majority of the cases, MRSA infection occurs as hospital-associated infections. Usually, it is manifested as skin disorders like pus-filled lesions, skin abscesses, boils, and pimple-like symptoms in and around surgical wounds or other injury sites. People who have a compromised immune system and those administering a prolonged dosage of antibiotics are at a higher risk than the healthy individuals. If such an infection occurs in healthy people who are not hospitalized recently, then it is referred to as Community-associated MRSA infection.
Better understanding about MRSA facts will help in preventing the condition. While speaking about the preventive measures, control can be achieved by following personal hygiene and cleanliness tips. In case of wounds and injuries, they should be cleaned with disinfectants and covered with bandages until they are healed completely.
While visiting an infected person, one should wear gloves, masks, and other protective gears as suggested by the hospital staff. One should also avoid sharing of personal items (razors, brush, towels, etc.) and clothes with other people, so as to minimize the chances of acquiring this infection.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.