WHAT IS MRSA?
MRSA is a methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, a Staphylococcus aureus-type bacterium that has developed resistance to methicillin (penicillin type) and other antibiotics commonly used to treat staphylococcal infections.
Staphylococcus aureus is a bacterium that can be found in the nose and skin (especially in wet areas such as armpits, groin, hands) in one third of the healthy population. It is usually harmless, unless it enters the body through cuts or other wounds, and even then causes only minor skin changes, especially in healthy people.
The carrier of MRSA in the nose or skin without causing symptoms and clinical signs of the disease is called colonization. It is estimated that 1% of persons carrying Staphylococcus aureus are colonized with MRSA.
If MRSA penetrates the body, usually through cuts or other wounds and begins to multiply there, it will cause an infection accompanied by various symptoms depending on the site of infection. It can manifest as a skin infection (followed by pimples and ulcers), inflammation of the lungs and sepsis. Infection with MRSA is not a threat to healthy people, it usually causes infection in people with weakened immune systems.
Types of MRSA infection
Most often, MRSA infection is acquired during hospitalization or stay in other health care facilities, such as nursing homes or dialysis centers. This type of MRSA infection is called a Hospital MRSA (Health Care-Associated MRSA – HA-MRSA).Another type of MRSA infection occurs in the wider community, among the healthy population. This type of MRSA infection is called outpatient MRSA (Community-Associated MRSA – CA-MRSA).
How is it transmitted?
MRSA is present throughout the community, but is more common in hospitals and long-term care facilities (nursing homes, hemodialysis centers). If people have MRSA on their hands, they can pass it on to other people or to the objects they touch.
How is MRSA detected?
MRSA can only be detected by microbiological examination. For examinations, nasal swabs, throats, groin or perianal region are used in healthy individuals. People with MRSA infection, depending on the clinical picture and symptoms of the disease, receive nasal swabs, throats, skin changes, sores, blood, etc. Microbiological analysis takes 2-3 days.
Recommendations on How to Prevent Outpatient MRSA Transfer (Community-Associated MRSA – CA-MRSA)
Simple hygiene measures that will reduce the risk of spreading MRSA:• Wash your hands frequently with warm water and soap!• After washing your hands, dry them thoroughly with a paper towel!• Use a gel or hand sanitizer that contains alcohol when soap and water are unavailable. It can also be used when the hands look clean!• Do not touch wounds, damaged skin, or invasive devices unless your professional has given medical advice!· Open wounds or damaged skin must be covered!• Do not take antibiotics without your doctor’s advice. Improper and intensive use of antibiotics may intensify the spread of resistant bacteria!• If your doctor recommends an antibiotic, take it exactly as prescribed and complete treatment completely.
How is MRSA treated?
Most people who are colonized with MRSA have no symptoms of infection and no treatment is necessary. But if they need to undergo some invasive medical intervention or surgery, colonization is at increased risk of infection. Only a physician decides whether it is needed, and if necessary how to “decolonize” it or treat it to remove as much MRSA as possible. Treatment of MRSA infection is administered by a physician, which may include topical treatment or oral antibiotics, and the physician again decides.
Is MRSA a risk for other people?
A person with MRSA poses no risk to healthy people in the environment, including the elderly, pregnant, children and infants. In case of contact with other people, they should take good care of hand hygiene, protect and cover open wounds, cuts or any skin changes with waterproof coating or patch. Anyone who is suspected to be a carrier of MRSA infection should consult with their GP who will advise him of the need for further treatment.