Drug Resistant MRSA

Type: Bacterial

Geography: Global

Cases Per Year: 120,000

Fatality Rate: 16%

First Discovered: 1960 in the UK by microbiologist Patricia Jevens

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus is a cause of staph infection that is difficult to treat because of resistance to some antibiotics. Overuse of antibiotics in hospitals due to continued lapses in infection control caused the staph to become resistant. MRSA has spread globally, and the countries with the highest rates are the United States, Canada, Japan and Indonesia.

People who are colonized with MRSA are asymptomatic and will have no infection, but are carriers and can spread MRSA by sneezing, shedding, and coughing. There are three types of MRSA infection: healthcare-acquired (HA-MRSA), community-acquired (CA-MRSA), and livestock-acquired (LA-MRSA). HA-MRSA mostly occurs at the surgical site. Symptoms include red and swollen skin with pus coming out of wounds. It has a high mortality rate (30%-50%). CA-MRSA infections can present as a boil, red pimple, rash, or lesion on the skin. It should be monitored for changes and can be healed by keeping it clean, dry, and covered. CA-MRSA is found mostly in gyms, school fitness centers, school sports equipment, locker rooms, daycare centers, and correctional facilities.

High-risk patients include those previously in a healthcare setting, patients previously infected or colonized, dialysis patients, patients with immunosuppression, surgical patients, prisoners, and intensive care patients.

Photo: Human neutrophil ingesting MRSA – Electron micrograph.