Methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)

What is MRSA (methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus)?

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a type of Staph bacteria that is resistant to many antibiotics. There are two types of MRSA:

  • Hospital-associated MRSA, which can cause infections in the bloodstream and at surgical sites and pneumonia
  • Community-associated MRSA, which can cause skin or lung (less common) infections

Symptoms of MRSA

MRSA is often spread through direct contact with an infected wound. Common symptoms of community-related MRSA include:

  • A red, swollen, painful bump or infected area on the skin
  • Warm to the touch
  • Pus or other fluid drainage
  • Fever

Hospital-related MRSA can also be spread through contact with an infected wound. MRSA can be transmitted on beds, bathroom fixtures, medical equipment and the hands of health care providers and visitors. These infections are more severe and may occur in the bloodstream, heart, lungs, or other organs, urine or at recent surgery sites. Some symptoms include:

  • Chest pain
  • Cough or shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Fever and chills
  • General ill feeling
  • Headache
  • Rash

Wounds that do not heal MRSA is often spread through direct contact with an infected wound. Common symptoms of community-related MRSA include:

  • A red, swollen, painful bump or infected area on the skin
  • Warm to the touch
  • Pus or other fluid drainage
  • ​Fever

Hospital-related MRSA can also be spread through contact with an infected wound. MRSA can be transmitted on beds, bathroom fixtures, medical equipment and the hands of health care providers and visitors. These infections are more severe and may occur in the bloodstream, heart, lungs, or other organs, urine or at recent surgery sites. Some symptoms include:

  • Chest pain
  • Cough or shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Fever and chills
  • General ill feeling
  • Headache
  • Rash
  • Wounds that do not heal

How Is MRSA diagnosed?

In addition to a physical exam to check for these symptoms, your physician will order a culture of a sample from a wound, blood, urine, or saliva. This test will show whether MRSA bacteria are present to confirm the diagnosis.

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