Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Can a MRSA infection be fatal?"
I work in an assisted living home and was warned by my boss that it is possible to contract MRSA from some of the residents. Can this be fatal or is MRSA easily counteracted with medication?
Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA is a special type of bacteria that frequently is found on the skin and in the noses of many people. MRSA gets its name from its ability to survive a specific antibiotic that was used to treat Staphylococcus aureus for many years. There are a number of distinctions that we should make. First, there is a difference between being infected with MRSA and being colonized. MRSA infections can come in many forms from skin and soft tissue infections to infections of the blood and heart valves. Infections can be dangerous, whereas MRSA colonization means that the bacteria lives on the skin without causing any symptoms. Unfortunately, being colonized may make it more likely to eventually develop an infection, especially if you undergo surgery or another medical procedure. The good news is that most MRSA infections are almost never fatal. While many strains of MRSA are resistant to more than one antibiotic, there are usually other acceptable antibiotic options to treat the infection including many common ones such as Bactrim or doxycycline. Colonization can also be treated by undergoing a decolonization procedure which involves an antiseptic soap such a chlorhexidine and a nasal ointment called mupiricin. You should contact your primary care physician who can discuss this more thoroughly and help direct you to the appropriate therapy. Good luck!
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