A methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, infection typically begins as painful, swollen red bumps on the skin that resemble spider bites or pimples, according to Mayo Clinic. The bumps may be warm to the touch and filled with pus, and they can rapidly turn into deep abscesses requiring surgical draining. The bacteria may burrow into the body and cause life-threatening infections in the bloodstream, joints, bones, lungs and heart valves.
MRSA infection is caused by a staph bacteria that is resistant to many of the antibiotics doctors use to treat other staph infections, explains Mayo Clinic. There are two types of MRSA: health care-associated MRSA and community-associated MRSA.
Risk factors for health care-associated MRSA include hospitalization, living in a long-term care facility and having an invasive medical device. Additionally, the use of medical tubing such as catheters or intravenous lines increases risk by allowing a path for MRSA to enter into the body.
Risk factors for community-associated MRSA include participating in contact sports such as wrestling, living in unsanitary or crowded conditions, and engaging in homosexual sex, notes Mayo Clinic. MRSA spreads easily through skin-to-skin contact.
Although MRSA infections resist the effects of many antibiotics and are very difficult to treat, both types of MRSA do respond to certain antibiotics, states Mayo Clinic.