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MRSA (Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus) infections

Clifton Sheets, MD September 7, 2011Uncategorized

MRSA is an acronym for Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus. Staph aureus is a common bacteria that frequently causes wound infections and abscesses. About 10% of the population at any one time will have staph aureus positive nasal swabs. Methicillin is a second generation antibiotic that is structurally similar to penicillin. It was developed to address the problem of penicillin resistance that began to emerge in hospitals in the 1950’s and 1960’s.

Initially limited to ICU and hospital settings, MRSA has become a problem in the general community. Sports teams, classrooms, jails, health clubs and nursing homes have all battled the problem of MRSA infections. The concern with MRSA arises because bacteria that are resistant to methicillin are frequently resistant to many other antibiotics. Such is the case for hospital acquired MRSA. “Super bugs” are being isolated that have no known effective antibiotic.

Fortunately, community acquired MRSA has so far been sensitive to several commonly used antibiotics. These antibiotics were used heavily in the past, but when bacteria became resistant doctors stopped prescribing them and the bacteria lost their resistance to them over the ensuing years. Locally we have been very successful using sulfa drugs, doxycycline, and clindamycin while treating MRSA infections.

MRSA infections frequently cause abscesses. These can occur anywhere on the body. MRSA abscesses are painful, grow rapidly and frequently require an incision to drain the infection. The fluid that drains from a MRSA infection is highly contagious and so every precaution should be made to prevent contact with this fluid. Bandages should be disposed of immediately after use and towels should be used only once before placing them in the laundry. Laundry should be washed in hot water with bleach. A weak bleach solution can also be used to sanitize hard surfaces. This is important because MRSA has been shown to survive for up to 3 months on hard surfaces such as plastic and metal .

If you think you might have a MRSA infection it is important that you be seen right away. At Prime Care we have the experience and the equipment to handle this serious health issue in a timely and comfortable manner. We can drain the abscess under local anesthesia and start antibiotics right away. In addition we will follow you up on a regular basis until we are certain you are well on your way to recovery.

You do not need an appointment. Simply present to any Prime Care location and we will be happy to serve you.

Disclaimer: My blog posts on the Prime Care website are meant for informational purposes only and are not intended to be considered as medical advice or as a diagnostic tool. Seek prompt medical attention if you have health concerns.