What is MRSA?

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What is MRSA?

MRSA is often referred to as a 'superbug'. MRSA stands for methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus. Staphylococcus aureus is a bacteria that normally lives on our skin and doesn't cause us any health problems. However some of these bacteria have become resistant to the antibiotic methicillin and other antibiotics such as penicillin. Infections like MRSA are known as hospital aquired infections because they occur mostly in healthcare environments. This is because when we have an open wound such as after surgery, or when our immune systems are weakened e.g. when we are suffering from another illness or the elderly or young children, we can get what are known as opportunistic infections. These infections occur when bugs that normally live in, on or around us without harming us, grow in number and cause illness in us. These bugs, like MRSA, may be resistant to antimicrobial treatment.

Related Resources
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Dangerous Diseases & Epidemics
MRSA Infection
What is MRSA
MRSA - Information for patients
MRSA Factsheet
VISA/VRSA - Vancomycin Intermediate/Resistant Staphylococcus aureus
Resources about Infection Control

Date of Posting: 27/01/2003
Date of next Review: 15/01/2005

Related Questions:
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MeSH keywords:
Methicillin Resistance; Staphylococcus aureus; Infection Control; Cross Infection; Opportunistic Infections; Community-Acquired Infections; Drug Resistance, Microbial; Drug Resistance, Bacterial

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