What is MRSA?
MRSA is a staphylococcal bacterium that is common in healthy people without them realizing it. Unlike other staph bacteria, MRSA bacteria are resistant (insensitive) to treatment with most antibiotics. The bacteria are usually found in the nose and on the skin of carriers. But in rare cases, it can occur in the intestines, urine and throat. MRSA is primarily spread through direct skin contact. In addition, infection can occur by inhaling dander or sneezing.
Generally, carriers do not realize they are infected with the MRSA bacteria. But there may also be more serious illness. The symptoms that may then occur are:
- Infections – such as boils or impetigo
- Blood poisoning – In severe cases
- Bone infection – In severe cases
- Pneumonia – In severe cases
MRSA testing and treatment
Despite the fact that many antibiotics are no match for MRSA, the bacteria are treatable. Laboratory tests can determine whether a person is infected with MRSA bacteria. Testing can determine which antibiotics the MRSA is not yet resistant to. The family doctor can then prescribe these antibiotics to the infected person. To check the result of treatment, cultures are taken after treatment. If that shows that the bacteria are no longer present, no new course of antibiotics is needed.
This means that in some cases multiple cures are needed. When a person has been infected with MRSA, it does not mean they are resistant to the bacteria. One can get MRSA infection more often. Because MRSA moves more easily in hospitals and nursing homes, testing for the bacteria is more frequent in these locations.