What is MRSA?
MRSA is an infection caused by a type of staph bacteria that has become very virulent toward many of the antibiotics used to treat regular staph infections. MRSA is often referred to as a superbug. Its full name is name methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus bacteria. Many healthy people have staph in their nose and on their skin and it doesn’t ever make them sick. But can spread it to others.
If you have MRSA, you have one of two types. With HA-MRSA (the more common of the two types); the HA stands for health care-associated. This type occurs in people who’ve spent time in hospitals or other health care settings, such as nursing homes and dialysis centers.
If you contracted MRSA outside of a healthcare setting, it would be denoted CA-MRSA – community-associated MRSA. Community-associated MRSA (CA-MRSA) occurs among healthy people of any age. It often begins as a painful skin boil. It’s spread by skin-to-skin contact. Populations at risk include groups such as high school athletes, people who work with small children and people who live in cramped, crowded conditions.
Is it Really That Big a Concern?
In a word, yes. But should we be scared? No. MRSA that is not contained and treated can cause life-threatening infections. MRSA is a major problem, although many strides have been made in developing and identifying drugs that combat it fairly well. Rates of life-threatening MRSA have been declining due, in great part, to improvements in medical procedures, drug therapies and education about how it is contracted and spread.