Staph aureus commonly colonizes in a person’s nostrils. Additional sites may include a person’s the rest of the respiratory tract, an open wound, or even the urinary tract. Healthy persons can be infected with MRSA and have no obvious symptoms. Patients with compromised immune systems are at a higher risk of developing a secondary MRSA infection.
The initial presentation of a wound infected with MRSA may include red bumps that appear to be pimples, boils or a rash with fever. Within days, such an infection becomes larger and more painful, eventfully increasing in size to that of a deep, pus-filled boil.
Several populations are at high risk for developing a MRSA infection. Such at-risk persons include the following:
- Persons with a weakened immune system
- Young children and elderly person
- College student living in dormitories
- Intravenous drug users
- Persons staying or working in a health care facility for an extended time period ( healthcare providers and patients alike)
- Persons spending extended time periods in confined spaces with other people, such as prisons, and shelters
The MRSA causative bacterium can be diagnosed in a variety of ways. Blood, sputum, urine or other bodily fluids can be cultured to confirm a diagnosis and treatment plan . In addition, MRSA screening done on patients at the time of hospital admission enable early identification and proper treatment of MRSA, as well as reduce the risk of cross contamination.
Additional methods to reduce the spread of MRSA include the following:
- Proper hand-washing
- Appropriate isolation techniques
- Restricted use of antibiotics
- Avoiding sharing of personal items such as razors and towels
For more information on MRSA and reducing your personal risk of infection, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.