Recent media has highlighted one of the most common antibiotic-resistant-bacteria, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). In the US, over 2 million people are infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria and more than 23,000 people die due to these infections. Anyone can get MRSA and infections range from mild to very serious, even life-threatening. Most MRSA infections are skin infections and are generally mild. The more serious MRSA infections most often occur in healthcare facilities.
MRSA is contagious and can be spread through direct contact with contaminated surfaces or skin. It easily spreads in crowded places such as daycare or sport camps. Skin infections are most common and often look like a boil, pimple, or spider bite. Hand washing, good personal hygiene, covering wounds, and avoiding contact with contaminated items are important steps to prevent infection. In healthcare facilities, strict adherence to hand hygiene and use of appropriate personal protective equipment are key to prevent the spread of MRSA. This applies not only to healthcare workers, but also visitors.
Remember, washing your hands is one of the best ways to prevent infections! If you would like more information, Arizona’s HAI Advisory Committee has developed a Living with MRSA educational pamphlet to address common concerns, or you can visit www.cdc.gov/mrsa.