MRSA Infections

MRSA is a word that makes the majority of physicians nervous. It is an abbreviation for Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus and its issue is closely related to the bacterial antibiotic resistance.


Staphylococcus aureus (“golden staphylococcus”) is a bacterium belonging to the group of staphylococci. It is a spherical bacterium responsible for many infectious diseases, especially the purulent ones. Staphylococci tend to form surrounded inflammation, usually in form of cavities filled with pus known as the abscesses. Staphylococcus aureus is typical by being resistant to penicillin antibiotics. Unlike streptococci (responsible for example for tonsillitis), there is no chance to cure staphylococcal infections by penicillin. However, staphyloccoci used to be well-sensitive to other antibiotics such as oxacilin and methicilin


Unfortunately, the overall increasing antibiotic resistance affects also staphylococci causing occurrence of bacterial strains resistant to oxacilin and methicilin. Theses strains are referred to as MRSA.


Detection of MRSA presence is a serious situation as it may cause chronic infections that are extremely difficult to treat. I remember a case of a patient after a total hip replacement who suffered from MRSA infection of the postoperative wound. The bacterium caused a local purulent infection, the artificial joint had to be removed and the patient had to remain bedridden for months receiving strong antibiotics.


Fortunately, “normal” MRSA strains still respond to some other antibiotics, in particular to vancomycin and teicoplanin. However, there occur some staphylococcal strains that are resistant even to these antibiotics. Such “superMRSA” bacteria are also referred to as VRSA.


The best primary prevention is a rational antibiotic therapy, i.e. antibiotics only when necessary and in right doses. Hospitals must keep proper hygienic standards and use adequately disinfection to prevent the spread of resistant bacteria among the patients. When there is a MRSA outbreak, the infected patient must be isolated to reduce the possibility of further spread. Diagnosed MRSA bacteria should be examined for their antibiotic sensitivity and efficient antibiotics should be administered in adequate doses.


Jiri Stefanek, MD  Author of texts: Jiri Stefanek, MD
 Sources: basic text sources