Antibiotics are known to fix bacterial infections. But what happens when certain bacteria develop resistance to these very antibiotics? What is MRSA Infection? Let's get us some answers.
MRSA is short for Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus. This is a strain of staph bacteria that has developed resistance against antibiotics that are commonly used for treating general staph infections. Staph infections, or staphylococcal infections, are caused by Staphylococcus, a genus of gram-positive bacteria, which covers thirty two species and eight sub-species under its purview.
These bacteria are mostly harmless, and are normally found on skin and mucous membranes of other organisms. They form a very small component of the microbial flora of soil, and are found worldwide. However, they can cause diseases in humans and other creatures by penetrating or producing toxins. Staphylococcus is the commonest cause of food poisoning, as it can easily grow in inappropriately stored food. The bacteria, Staphylococcus Aureus, is responsible for the following types of infections:-
- Localized Skin Infections: Skin infections like style and other kinds of small, topical abscesses in sebaceous and sweat glands, boils around foreign particles, and carbuncles with the presence of bacteria in the blood (Bacteremia).
- Diffuse Skin Infections: Contagious skin infections like Impetigo are also caused by this micro organism.
- Deep Localized Infections: The infection can go as deep as the bones, and can even attack bone marrow. It can also attack the joints and cause septic arthritis.
- Toxinoses: The toxins produced by this bacteria is alone sufficient to cause infections such as Toxic Shock Syndrome, gastroenteritis, and Scalded Skin Syndrome.
- Other Infections: It can cause inflammation to the inner layer of the heart, causing Acute Infective Endocarditis. It can also trigger septicemia, and may be responsible for necrotizing pneumonia, in which the cellular tissues of the lungs die.
MRSA is that strain of Staphylococcus Aureus which has developed immunity towards antibiotics, especially methicillin. The infections caused by this strain are unresponsive to methicillin treatment.
Common causes include skin-to-skin contact with infected persons, and invasive medical procedures such as surgery, intravenous tubing, artificial joints, etc., where infected devices may come into contact with internal organs or commonly occurring bacteria may get an opportunity to come in contact with internal tissues. It has been observed that a person with a weak immune system is most likely to get infected. Some people may carry MRSA asymptomatically for years, without getting affected. The infection starts when the bacteria enters the body through a cut, sore, breathing tube, feeding tube or catheter. Mostly affected by it are patients admitted in hospitals, nursing homes, and long-term health care facilities. However, the infection can also occur in healthy individuals who use shared facilities and equipment, such as athletes, military personnel, children at daycare facilities, etc.
The common indications are the appearance of red, inflamed, and painful area on the skin, which may be followed by secretion of pus and other fluids from this area. The infected site and the area around it may feel warmer than the rest of the body, and skin abscesses may appear around it. Fever may follow, indicating an advanced stage of bacterial invasion. Symptoms of a more serious infection may include chest pains, fever accompanied by cough and chills, fatigue, headache, muscle pain, and shortness of breath.
Diagnosing the infection may include blood tests, testing the secretion of the infected area, urine, sputum and skin culture of the infected area. These tests are conducted to ascertain the specific bacteria causing the infection.
For topical skin infection, draining the skin sore at a clinic may be sufficient. For a more serious infection, certain antibiotics like Clindamycin, Doxycyclin, Tetracycline, and Linezolid may still work. It is absolutely mandatory that one consumes all doses of medication prescribed. Not finishing the full course may make the bacteria further resistant to the drug or may cause the infection to relapse. For highly serious infections, where the bacteria has entered the body beyond the skin, treatment may extend to administering fluids and medications through a vein, performing kidney dialysis, and may even involve supplying oxygen artificially (in case of respiratory infection).
Statistics have associated MRSA induced pneumonia and blood infection to high death rates too many times to afford negligence. Take care of that bruise and keep your surroundings clean. Eat nourishing food to give your immune system a boost.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be replaced for the advice of a medical professional.