MRSA ( methicillin -resistant Staphylococcus aureus ) is a type of staphylococcal bacteria that is resistant to many types of antibiotics, such as amoxicillin and penicillin. MRSA infection can be characterized by the appearance of lumps on the skin that resemble pimples and feel pain.

Staphylococcus aureus is a generally harmless bacteria. Sometimes, these bacteria only cause mild infections that clear up easily without needing treatment. However, in certain cases Staphylococcus bacteria can also cause serious infections, such as pneumonia.

Staphylococcus infections can actually be treated with antibiotics. But over time, Staphylococcus bacteria evolved, making them resistant to many types of commonly used antibiotics. MRSA is one example of the result of this bacterial evolution.

MRSA type

MRSA can cause infection in humans. MRSA infection is divided into two types, namely:

Hospital acquired MRSA (HA-MRSA)

HA-MRSA is an MRSA infection that occurs during hospitalization or due to procedures and procedures received at the hospital. Typically, this type of MRSA infection results from direct contact with infected wounds, unsterile medical or surgical equipment, or contaminated hands.

HA-MRSA can cause dangerous conditions, such as sepsis (bloodstream infection) and pneumonia .

Community acquired (CA-MRSA)

CA-MRSA occurs in healthy individuals who have direct contact with sufferers of MRSA infection or in someone who does not maintain good hygiene. Transmission can occur in daycare, crowded environments, hospitals or other medical facilities.

CA-MRSA commonly causes skin infections, such as boils, folliculitis, and cellulitis.

Causes of MRSA

MRSA bacteria can appear due to unnecessary use of antibiotics or improper use of antibiotics. This causes staphylococcal bacteria to learn how to fight antibiotics, so the antibiotics can no longer kill them.

In some cases, MRSA can live on a person's skin or nose without causing serious symptoms. Individuals who experience it are called MRSA carriers . Even so, this bacterium can cause a dangerous infection if it enters the body, for example through an open wound on the skin.

MRSA Risk Factors

There are several factors that can increase a person's risk of being infected with MRSA. These risk factors differ in HA-MRSA and CA-MRSA, because the environments in which the infection is often spread are also different.

In HA-MRSA, factors that can increase the risk of infection include:

  • Undergo regular dialysis
  • Using medical devices that enter the body, such as IVs or catheters
  • Undergoing hospitalization in the hospital, especially if more than 3 months
  • Have a weak immune system, for example due to AIDS
  • Residing in a nursing home

Meanwhile, several factors that can increase a person's risk of developing CA-MRSA are:

  • Work in an environment crowded with people, such as military barracks, daycare, or prison
  • Residing in a crowded and slum environment
  • Sharing personal items, such as sports equipment, towels or razors
  • Active in activities or sports that require direct contact
  • Having unprotected sex, such as men having sex with men
  • Using illegal drugs

MRSA symptoms

Just like other skin infections caused by Staphylococcus bacteria , the signs and symptoms of MRSA skin infections are red bumps on the skin that resemble pimples. These lumps are generally warm to the touch and can quickly turn into painful pus-filled boils.

In most cases, the Staphylococcus bacteria remain on the skin. However, it is possible that bacteria can go deeper and cause dangerous infections of the blood, joints, bones, lungs and heart. This is more common with HA-MRSA. Symptoms that can then appear include:

  • Fever
  • shivers
  • Weak
  • Cough
  • Headache
  • Hard to breathe
  • Chest pain
  • Muscle ache

When to see a doctor

Check with your doctor if signs and symptoms of a skin infection appear as above, especially those accompanied by a fever. If left unchecked, MRSA infections can spread and cause serious, life-threatening complications.

Diagnosis of MRSA

The doctor will first ask about the patient's symptoms and medical history. After that, the doctor will perform a physical examination of the infected skin.

Furthermore, to confirm the diagnosis, the doctor will take samples of the wound, sputum, blood or urine for examination in the laboratory. This examination is carried out to find out whether there are staphylococcal bacteria in the sample.

If staphylococcal bacteria are found, further tests will be carried out to find out whether the bacteria are resistant to antibiotics and belong to the MRSA group.

Depending on the complaints experienced by the patient, the doctor may also perform other tests, such as:

  • Scanning with X-rays or CT scans, to detect pneumonia
  • Echocardiography, to determine the possibility of endocarditis

MRSA Treatment

MRSA is a bacteria, so the treatment that can be done is giving antibiotics. However, as previously explained, MRSA is resistant to many types of antibiotics. This makes treating MRSA difficult.

The doctor may try using several antibiotics at once. The type of antibiotic prescribed by the doctor is also adjusted to the severity of the patient. Antibiotic options that may be used to treat MRSA include:

  • Clindamycin
  • Linezolid
  • Doxycycline
  • Generation V cephalosporins , such as ceftaroline fosamil
  • Tetracycline
  • Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole
  • Vancomycin

MRSA that causes skin infections can usually be treated with oral antibiotics. However, if the infection forms a large collection of pus (abscess), the doctor may perform simple surgery to drain and clean the pus.

Meanwhile, MRSA which causes infection to the internal organs must be handled with special care. The patient must be hospitalized and the doctor will give antibiotics through an IV. The doctor will also provide other therapies, such as:

  • Fluid therapy
  • Breathing apparatus, if MRSA has caused respiratory failure
  • Dialysis, if MRSA has spread to the kidneys

MRSA complications

Considering that MRSA is a bacteria that is resistant to many types of antibiotics, it is possible that the antibiotics given to patients are not immediately effective in treating infections. If MRSA is able to overcome the antibiotics given and continues to grow in the body, the infection can spread to:

  • Blood flow and cause sepsis or even failure of several organs at once
  • joints and cause septic arthritis
  • lungs and causes pneumonia
  • Bone and cause osteomyelitis
  • heart and cause endocarditis

An inflammatory reaction caused by an infection in the bloodstream can have harmful effects throughout the body. One of them is a drastic drop in blood pressure.

Prevention of MRSA

MRSA infection can be prevented by hygienic behavior, such as:

  • Clean and cover the wound with a bandage to prevent contamination
  • Wash your hands regularly with water and soap or hand sanitizer , especially while in the hospital
  • Washing clothes with hot water and laundry soap if they have skin wounds, and drying clothes by exposing them directly to the sun or using a dryer with hot temperatures
  • Do not share personal items, such as towels, razors, blankets and sports equipment
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