MRSA infection – Symptoms, Pictures, Treatment, Causes


MRSA infection happens when someone has become resistant to the antibiotics used in treating staph infections. An individual may get the infection through direct contact with objects or surfaces which have been infected with the MRSA bacteria such as medical tools and athletic facilities. It also sometimes occurs in military camps and jails where the living conditions are very poor. MRSA infection is a debilitating and life-threatening infection for which prompt treatment is badly needed. The treatment is quite tricky as the infection is resistant to widely used antibiotics. Doctors can determine the treatment plan based on the severity and kind of infection the individual has. Patients should complete the entire course of medication so as to totally remove the bacteria from the body.

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What is MRSA infection ?

MRSA refers to Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus, an infection caused by staph bacteria that have become resistant to the antibiotics used in treating staph infections. Staph infection is caused by the staphylococcus bacteria which are often found in mucous membranes and skin of many organisms. The Staphylococcus aureus can also cause localized, diffused and deep infections, toxinoses, Septicemia, Acute infective endocarditis, Necrotizing pneumonia and food poisoning. MRSA infection comes in various forms based on the area where they have been found. The most common forms are:

  • HA-MRSA

This form of MRSA infection is acquired in medical facilities such as hospitals, dialysis centers and nursing homes.

  • CA-MRSA

This is transmitted from community-based facilities such as athletic facilities, jails, children centers and military camps.

MRSA infection Risk Factors

Since MRSA infection occurs in various settings, people who are working or living in areas where the infection is found are at risk. Those who are hospitalized, living in health care facilities or have gone through invasive medical procedures are at risk of getting HA-MRSA infection. On the other hand, those who are engaged in contact sports, living in unhygienic living conditions and homosexual men are at risk of getting CA-MRSA infection. In addition, those who have weak immune systems and have tattoos are also at risk of developing MRSA infection.

MRSA infection causes

The infection is highly contagious at it occurs when a person:

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  • Has direct skin contact with an infected person
  • Touches items, devices and surfaces contaminated with fluids that contain MRSA
  • Has a weak immune system
  • Has been subjected to medical instruments contaminated by the bacteria such as catheter, medical tubing and needles.

How to determine if a person has MRSA infection ?

A person affected by the MRSA infection will notice small, red and inflamed bumps on the skin which look like spider bites, boils or pimples. This will be followed by painful abscesses and the area surrounding the bump feels warmer compared to the other body parts. The patient may also have fever which is a strong indication that the bacterial infection has invaded to a greater extent. When the infection has aggravated, the patient will suffer from fatigue, muscle pain, breathing difficulties, chest pain and headache. MRSA infection could be fatal if treatment is delayed as it brings harmful effects to the bloodstream, heart, lungs, bones and joints.

MRSA Infection Diagnosis, Tests

Proper diagnosis is important for people suspected with MRSA infection. This involves testing the blood as well as the fluid in the affected area for the presence of drug-resistant bacteria. The sputum, skin culture and urine of the patient will also be tested to determine the exact type of bacteria that had brought about the infection.

MRSA infection treatment

The treatment for MRSA infection helps patients by curing the infection and preventing it from aggravating any further. Proper management is crucial as the infection is highly contagious and life-threatening. Since every patient is different, the doctor will recommend a treatment plan based on the condition of the individual and the severity of the infection. The treatment for MRSA infection may involve:

  • Antibiotics

This option is still the primary treatment for MRSA infection. The doctor will employ various microbiological tests to determine the most appropriate antibiotic therapy. Patients should never miss out on taking their medicine to prevent the MRSA from developing resistance to the drug.

  • Antibacterial ointments and soaps

Doctors may also recommend the use of antibacterial ointments and soaps as these help in reducing the number of bacteria residing in the skin, as well as in preventing the infection from spreading any further. In mild cases, the doctor may open and drain the fluid from the sore and keep it covered until it is completely healed. In case the bacteria have invaded deeper, the antibiotic therapy may require oral and intravenous administration, kidney dialysis and in some cases, artificial supply of oxygen. MRSA infection is a life-threatening infection requiring prompt medical treatment. The treatment is based on the condition and severity of MRSA infection. The right treatment should be able to prevent the spread of the infection to other people as well as stop it from becoming a potentially deadly condition.

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