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MRSA can be a community acquired disease or a hospital acquired disease. It began as a purely a hospital acquired disease but now has spread to the community. It is an infection occurring anywhere in the body as a result of an overgrowth of Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus. It is such a dangerous disease because the infection is resistant to the common antibiotics used for staphylococcus infections. The individual sick with MRSA is often placed on the typical antibiotics and is dead or extremely sick when the lab report comes back with a diagnosis of MRSA rather than a regular Staphylococcus aureus infection.

The symptoms you get depend on where you are infected. Skin infections are very common, yielding sores and boils on the skin. The infection can penetrate appliances used in bone, such as hip replacement appliances and the bacteria can affect the heart and blood as well. The urinary tract and lungs are other locations where MRSA is commonly seen.

Most MRSA infections tend not to be serious and instead are indolent and slow growing. Some however are malicious and fast growing, killing the victim within just a few hours. Due to the fact that MRSA is so difficult to treat, it is sometimes referred to as a "super bug".

The cause of MRSA stems from the regular Staphylococcus aureus organism that, through repetitive exposure to multiple antibiotics, develops a resistance to the antibiotics so that only a few of the most powerful antibiotics work against the organism to kill it in cases of infection. In the community, a lot of people are colonized with staph bacteria of the normal type. It is estimated that up to 30 percent of us harbor staph aureus in the nose.

Staphylococcus aureus, MRSA or not, can enter the body through a cut or abrasion in the skin or nasal passages. The invasion of bacteria causes an infection within the skin and this can spread through the bloodstream. This is where it gets dangerous and can spread to other body areas. MRSA is the direct result of overtreatment of antibiotics such as methicillin, penicillin, oxacillin and amoxicillin, along with cephalosporin antibiotics. These are the most common antibiotics used in gram positive infections like staphylococcus.

Those who get MRSA often do it by becoming in direct contact with another individual who has the disease. It is usually a skin to skin contact. You can get MRSA by touching objects that have MRSA on them. MRSA affects about one percent of Americans but rarely do healthy people get infected with the disease.

MRSA is most common in those people who are immunosuppressed in some way such as transplant patients, those on corticosteroids, and the elderly. People sick with other diseases are also likely to get MRSA infections if colonized. The infections can harbor around surgical wounds, around invasive devices, like catheters or implanted feeding tubes. Rates of infection are going up in hospitals and nursing homes everywhere and MRSA is responsible for more than sixty percent of staphylococcus infections.

Community associated MRSA is becoming increasingly probable. It affects about fourteen percent of people in the community. The rate is increasingly quickly and in one study, the rate went up among children in the study fourteen fold in just three years. Other people likely to get community acquired MRSA are those who live in close quarters with others such as athletes, prisoners or military recruits. Increasingly, however, it is being seen in the general population. The average age of those colonized with MRSA in the community is only 23 years.

The treatment of MRSA is to use strong antibiotics that doctors believe the MRSA is sensitive to. This can include vancomycin antibiotics. It is an expensive way to treat the disease but nothing else really helps.

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Medical Negligence Solicitors

Our personal injury solicitors operate a specialist medical negligence compensation service. Our MRSA solicitors deal with claims using a no win no fee arrangement which means that if you don�t win then you don�t pay them their professional costs. If you would like legal advice at no cost with no further obligation just complete the contact form or email our lawyers offices or use the helpline and an MRSA solicitor will review your medical negligence compensation claim and phone you immediately.

HELPLINE: ☎ 1800 633 634

The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here