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What is MRSA?

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

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 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

Causes

MRSA is often spread through direct contact with an infected wound. Hospital-related MRSA can also be transmitted on beds, bathroom fixtures, medical equipment and the hands of health care providers and visitors.

How is it diagnosed?

In addition to a physical exam to check for 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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