MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) is a type of Staph bacteria found on the skin and in the
nose that is resistant to antibiotics. More than 90,000 Americans get potentially deadly MRSA infections every year
and in 2005, nearly 19,000 Americans died from MRSA infections. More deaths are linked to MRSA infections than AIDS.
There are two known types of MRSA. You may have heard of Healthcare-Associated (HA-MRSA), which occurs in hospitals and nursing homes, but a newer type of MRSA is Community-Associated (CA-MRSA), which has recently begun to spread in public settings like gyms, locker rooms, households and schools.
People can carry MRSA and not have any symptoms. These "carriers" can also transmit the bacteria to other people. MRSA can be easily spread through skin-to-skin contact and by touching contaminated items. This is why it is crucial to take measures to help reduce the spread of MRSA using these practical steps.
MRSA, like other staph bacteria, can cause a skin infection such as pimples, rashes, abscesses, boils or what can look like a spider bite. These infections are usually warm, painful, red or swollen.
If you think that you or anyone in your family may have a MRSA infection, contact a licensed health care professional, especially if the infection is large, painful, warm to the touch, or does not heal by itself.
This content is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Visit The University of Chicago MRSA Research Center Web site for additional resources:
MRSA — stands for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, which is a type of Staph bacteria that is resistant to antibiotics.
Staph — a type of bacteria commonly found on the skin and in the nose. In most cases Staph lives in these areas of the body and does not cause infections. However, for unclear reasons, a small percentage of people develop Staph infections.
Carrier — a person who carries Staph or MRSA bacteria but do not have any symptoms. They can also transmit the bacteria to other people.
Antibiotic — a drug that fights infections caused by bacteria.
Antibiotic resistance — the ability of bacteria to resist the effects of an antibiotic.