Immunology

Sugarcoating the search for a new vaccine

A vaccine based on sugarcoats does have the potential to combat a multi-resistant staphylococcus. That is what Jeroen Codée and his colleagues from Utrecht state in Nature. In doing so, they are contradicting the earlier ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Fighting staph infections with the body's immune system

Researchers have gained a greater understanding of the biology of staphylococcus skin infections in mice and how the mouse immune system mobilizes to fight them. A study appears this week in the PNAS. Community acquired methicillin-resistant ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Cleaning routine shows promise in curbing superbug infection

Think of it as decontaminating yourself. Hospitalized patients who harbor certain superbugs can cut their risk of developing full-blown infections if they swab medicated goo in their nose and use special soap and mouthwash ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Computer model shows how to better control MRSA outbreaks

A research team led by scientists at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health report on a new method to help health officials control outbreaks of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, a life-threatening ...

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Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a bacterium responsible for difficult-to-treat infections in humans. It may also be referred to as multidrug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or oxacillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (ORSA). MRSA is by definition a strain of Staphylococcus aureus that is resistant to a large group of antibiotics called the beta-lactams, which include the penicillins and the cephalosporins.

MRSA is a resistant variation of the common bacterium Staphylococcus aureus. It has evolved an ability to survive treatment with beta-lactam antibiotics, including methicillin, dicloxacillin, nafcillin, and oxacillin. MRSA is especially troublesome in hospital-associated (nosocomial) infections. In hospitals, patients with open wounds, invasive devices, and weakened immune systems are at greater risk for infection than the general public. Hospital staff who do not follow proper sanitary procedures may transfer bacteria from patient to patient. Visitors to patients with MRSA infections or MRSA colonization are advised to follow hospital isolation protocol by using the provided gloves, gowns, and masks if indicated. Visitors who do not follow such protocols are capable of spreading the bacteria to cafeterias, bathrooms, and elevators.

The organism is often sub-categorized as community-acquired MRSA (CA-MRSA) or health care-associated MRSA (HA-MRSA) although this distinction is complex. Some have defined CA-MRSA by characteristics of patients who develop an MRSA infection while other authors have defined CA-MRSA by genetic characteristics of the bacteria themselves. The first reported cases of community-acquired MRSA began to appear in the mid-1990s from Australia, New Zealand, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Finland, Canada, and Samoa, notable because they involved people who had not been exposed to a health-care setting. In 1997, four fatal cases were reported involving children from Minnesota and North Dakota. Over the next several years, it became clear that CA-MRSA infections were caused by strains of MRSA that differed from the older and better studied health care-associated strains. The new CA-MRSA strains have rapidly become the most common cause of cultured skin infections among individuals seeking emergency medical care in urban areas of the United States. These strains also commonly cause skin infections in men who have sex with men, athletes, prisoners and soldiers. However, in a 2002 report about CRSA, many cases were children who required hospitalization.

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