What do you know about MRSA??
What is MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus)?
Some staph bacteria are resistant to antibiotics. MRSA is a type of staph that is resistant to antibiotics called beta-lactams. Beta-lactam antibiotics include methicillin and other more common antibiotics such as oxacillin, penicillin and amoxicillin. While 25% to 30% of the population is colonized with staph, approximately 1% is colonized with MRSA.
What type of infections does MRSA cause?
In the community most MRSA infections are skin infections that may appear as pustules or boils that often are red, swollen, painful, or have pus or other drainage. These skin infections commonly occur at sites of visible skin trauma, such as cuts and abrasions, and areas of the body covered by hair (e.g., back of neck, groin, buttock, armpit, beard area of men). Almost all MRSA skin infections can be effectively treated by drainage of pus with or without antibiotics (also known as antimicrobials or antibiotics). More serious infections, such as pneumonia, bloodstream infections, or bone infections, are very rare in healthy people who get MRSA skin infections.
How is MRSA spread?
Will handwashing prevent only MRSA?
Handwashing is a key tool in preventing many infections, including MRSA, but also influenza, colds, stomach viruses, and other infections and diseases. As cold and flu season begins, it is particularly important to remember to wash hands as often as possible. If you are not able to wash hands at a sink and there is no visible dirt on your hands, alcohol-based cleansers are effective at disinfecting hands.
Should students with MRSA skin infections be excluded from attending school?
Unless directed by a physician, students with RMSA infections should not be excluded from attending school. Exclusion from school should be limited to those who cannot cover their wounds. Students with active infections should cover their wounds with clean, dry bandages and should be excluded from activities where skin-to-skin contact is likely to occur (i.e. sports) until their infections are healed.
Are we required to report MRSA cases to our public health entity? State laws on reporting MRSA and other diseases vary by state. Consult your public health department for more information.
I am planning a visit to a college. Should I be concerned about a MRSA outbreak on the college campus? Again, practice good hygiene to avoid contracting MRSA or other infections. Be sure not to share any items that touch anyone else’s skin, such as towels or razors and wash hands as frequently as possible.
Where can I learn more about MRSA?