Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a strain of Staphylococcus aureus bacteria that was first discovered in England in 1961. MRSA infection is a bacterial infection that usually affects the skin. The following write-up provides information on the causes, symptoms, and treatment of this infection.
MRSA infection is not caused by a virus. It is a bacterial infection that is difficult to treat as this strain of bacteria has developed resistance to beta-lactam antibiotics that are normally used for treating staph infections. Generally, Staphylococcus aureus bacteria are present on the skin of human beings, as well as animals. They are harmless until they enter a wound or cut in the skin.
Types of MRSA Infection
While a staph infection can be cured by simple antibiotics, an MRSA infection is difficult to treat. It may be HA-MRSA (hospital-acquired), and affect those who work in hospitals, or those who have been hospitalized, or have had a surgery. Even the hospital staff is susceptible to MRSA infection. When healthy people are affected by MRSA infection, it is termed as Community Associated MRSA (CA-MRSA). MRSA bacteria can enter the body through cuts in the skin or cat or dog bites, as the staph bacteria are already present on their skin. And if a pet bite causes a wound, those bacteria get a chance to enter the body. In fact, the possibility of the spread of MRSA bacteria is more in case of pets.
Skin infections are a major symptom of MRSA infection. It is an infectious disease. However, it should be noted that not every skin infection is MRSA infection. Common symptoms of MRSA infection are given below:
- Cellulitis is one of the most common symptoms. It may start as a red bump, mostly on the leg or the arm.
- There could be a small red bump inside the eyelid or on the eyelash.
- Boils filled with pus could occur in hairy areas.
If the infection spreads to other areas, the affected individual may experience symptoms like:
- Extreme tiredness
- Drop in blood pressure
- Pain in the joints
It spreads through physical contact with people who are infected by it, or are carriers of the MRSA bacteria. It can also be caused by touching the things that have been used or touched by people who are contaminated by the MRSA bacteria.
If there is a wound of any sort which is not healing for a long time, it is advisable to consult a doctor. He might suggest a biopsy. For that, skin samples are taken from either the armpits, or the nostrils, the part which has hair, or from a boil or a wound. This will help in the detection of Staphylococcus aureus. If at all the MRSA bacteria is detected, the doctor may suggest the use of drugs such as tetracyclines or trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole.
Prevention is Better than Cure
- Wash your hands with medicated soaps.
- Avoid physical contact.
- Do not ignore any wound. Keep it clean and bandage it until it gets healed.
- If the wound isn’t healing, contact the doctor immediately.
- Don’t use the infected person’s belongings like towels, razors, etc.
- In hospitals, the bed covers and linen should be sterilized. It is advisable to sterilize even the curtains and the clothes used by patients.
- A different ward should be created for patients showing symptoms of MRSA infection, so that patients with other health problems do not get infected.
Medical help must be sought if a person exhibits the symptoms of an MRSA infection. MRSA infection is contagious, so follow the necessary precautions so as to prevent this infection from spreading to others.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.