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Diseases & Conditions

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) Facts & Treatment Options

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a problematic bacterium that is difficult to treat, as it is formidable in its ability to resist many types of common antibiotics. This particular strain can cause many conditions such as bloodstream infections, skin infections, sepsis, and pneumonia. While symptoms of MRSA depend on the site of infection, most often it simply causes mild infections on the skin, but it has the propensity to infect the bloodstream, lungs, the urinary tract, and surgical wounds.

The Two Categorizations of MRSA

Hospital-acquired MRSA (HA-MRSA)

HA-MRSA is given its name due to the fact that it is literally acquired during a hospital stay. The number of cases of HA-MRSA has dramatically increased in recent years and those with compromised immune systems, the elderly, and recent surgical patients are more susceptible.

Community-associated MRSA (CA-MRSA)

CA-MRSA is a result of emerging strains and is not related to a hospital stay, but can occur in healthy people in the general community. CA-MRSA is more likely spread between those who engage in close physical contact such as inmates, long-term care facility professionals, and athletes, etc.

What Causes MRSA?

Healthy individuals carry bacteria regularly and many may have staph within them but may not be affected by it. MRSA is spread by close contact with others such as touching someone with MRSA, or by touching inanimate objects that the bacteria could be living on. Often it is a cut or abrasion that allows the bacteria to invade.


Staph of all types is typically treated with antibiotics. MRSA however may require additional treatment with select drugs, as its resistance to common antibiotics is high.

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