MRSA stands for Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. MRSA is a type of the staph bacterium that is resistant to commonly used antibiotics such as methicillin, penicillin and amoxicillin. Most cases of MRSA infection are associated with hospitals and other health care facilities following invasive procedures such as surgery. In recent years MRSA has been increasingly found in the general population outside of health care facilities usually as skin or wound infections.
While 25 percent to 30 percent of the population carries staph bacteria, about 1 percent of the population is colonized with MRSA without exhibiting symptoms. Data from a 2003 study suggests that 12 percent of clinical MRSA infections are acquired in the general community. Staph or MRSA infections acquired in the community are usually manifested as skin infections, such as pimples and boils, and occur in otherwise healthy people. As in any community, MRSA infections do occur at Clemson University.
The medical staff at Redfern Health Center is well qualified to diagnose and treat MRSA infections. MRSA and other staph infections might look like a pimple or boil, and can be red, swollen, painful or have pus or other drainage. MRSA skin infections are sometimes mistaken for a spider bite. Since untreated MRSA infections can become serious, it is important to see a medical provider if you experience such symptoms. MRSA infections can be treated successfully with antibiotics.
MRSA can be passed from person to person, most frequently by direct skin-to-skin contact. You can protect yourself by practicing good personal hygiene, especially regular hand washing with soap and water, or by using alcohol-based hand rub products. You should also avoid sharing personal items such as razors, towels and bar soap. If you have been diagnosed with MRSA, you should protect others by keeping your wound covered with clean, dry bandages.
For more information and FAQ about MRSA see the CDC website: www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dhqp/ar_mrsa_ca_public.html#10
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