MRSA: MRSA is an acronym used to describe a strain of Staphylococcus aureus that is resistant to the killing effect of the antibiotic methicillin. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus is often called a ‘superbug’ because it is very difficult to treat. It causes a huge number of infections every year in hospitals all over the world. MRSA occurs most often in the U.S.
In Europe, the problem doesn’t seem quite as bad as in the U.S partly because of differences in the prescribing of antibiotics and partly because of control measures that have been put in place (such as mandatory MRSA screening for all patients in some settings). That said, an epidemic is still brewing. Number MRSA infected each year: 880,000 (2007 numbers)
% of people with MRSA infection who die from it: 5%
Number of MRSA infection deaths per year: 20,000 to 40,000
How is it spread?
MRSA:can be spread quite easily from person to person through contact. Staphylococcus is a very common bacterium that is present in the upper respiratory tract and on the skin of many people. In most cases, it does not cause disease and is considered to be a commensal bacterium. Most people who are carrying it are totally unaware that they have it. Problems occur if Staphylococcus aureus bacteria are able to enter the body through a cut or wound. It is possible for a healthcare worker in a hospital to carry Staph aureus without any ill effects but then to pass it onto patients who have recently had serious operations, causing a major post-operative infection. (% of hospital inpatients MRSA infected each year: 2.4%)
MRSA and MRSE have caused huge waves of infection in hospitals and are now considered a major risk for anyone entering hospital for an operation, particularly if they are elderly or weak from an underlying illness such as cancer. Causes/Complications/Symptoms
MRSA infections can resist the effects of many common antibiotics, so they are more difficult to treat. This can allow the infections to...
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