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Methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection: Treatment, symptoms, advice and help

About methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection

Methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus infection (MRSA) is a skin infection caused by a bacteria namely Staphylococcus aureus. As the name suggests, this particular infection is resistant to the antibiotic drug namely methicillin. This infection is characterised by a skin rash which may progress to inflammatory skin lesions. This infection was recently discovered in 1961 when genetically mutated staphylococcus aureus bacteria seemed to have developed resistance against the methicillin antibiotic.

Methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection: Incidence, age and sex

Incidence of MRSA infection is found to be around 3 to 4 in every 100 infection cases. It is not found to have any affinity with any particular sex, race or age.

Signs and symptoms of methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection: Diagnosis

Methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus infection (MRSA) is contagious and is known to exhibit human-to-human spread. It may spread through the direct contact of the infected skin or through articles used by the infected person. It can be exhibited as boils which are pus-filled collections in the hair follicles. These boils may progress to pus-filled pockets beneath the skin, which are termed as abscesses. These abscesses, if left untreated, may become larger and open onto the skin surface and are called ‘carbuncles’. Some affected individuals may also exhibit a stye on the eyelid. Occasionally, the bacteria may spread to internal organs resulting in high-temperature, chills, joint pains and headache, depending upon the organ involved.

The diagnosis is established by biopsy or through culture of the infected skin lesion. Other test includes ‘StaphSR Assay’, which is a blood test to determine the genetic material of MRSA in the sample blood.

Causes and prevention of methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection

The cause of methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus infection (MRSA) is the occurrence of genetic mutation in the bacteria which happened after the introduction of methicillin medication in the early 60s. It may easily spread from person to person. Individuals with superficial wounds or cuts or with underlying infections are more prone to contract MRSA infection.

Prevention may be done by covering the cut or wound of the skin. It is essential to maintain one’s immunity and treat any underlying infections as soon as possible. It is advisable to avoid exposure to MRSA-infected persons. Keeping general cleanliness and maintaining good hygiene may help in preventing this infection.

Methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection: Complications

Methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus infection (MRSA) if not treated immediately, may lead to endocarditis (inflammation of the heart valves) or osteomyelitis (inflammation of the bones). It may also lead to sepsis (blood poisoning), which is a potentially life-threatening infection affecting the entire body.

Methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection: Treatment

Methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus infection (MRSA) is treated with efficacious antibiotics like vancomycin, doxycyclin, clindamycin, or their combinations. Local care of skin is essential in the treatment of MRSA infection. The abscess should be incised and drained fully. Any wound should be properly cleaned and dressing done. Some individuals may require intravenous antibiotic medications, in case they do not respond well to oral antibiotics. Nurses or physicians who handle such patients should take adequate precautionary care to avoid getting infected.