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What are some facts about the MRSA infection?

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The methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infection, known as MRSA, is caused by a group of bacteria, according to eMedicineHealth. This type of infection is widespread and can cause boils, abscesses, carbuncles, sties and impetigo. Treatment of MRSA relies on antibiotics, and the outcome is mixed, due to MRSA's antibiotic resistance.

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MRSA is a particular strain of staphylococcus aureus, or staph, says WebMD. When staph is introduced to the bloodstream through a cut or other abrasion, it poses a health risk. MRSA is especially concerning because it is largely resistant to antibiotics. This resistance leads to its label as a "superbug." MRSA is transmitted by direct contact and is classified as either CA-MRSA, community acquired MRSA, or HA-MRSA, which is hospital- or health-care-acquired MRSA, explains MedicineNet.

WebMD lists the most common symptoms of MRSA infection as skin, urinary tract, blood and lung infections. MRSA also causes boils, abscesses, carbuncles and sties, according to eMedicineHealth. Cellulitis and rash can aslo be signs of a MRSA infection, notes MedicineNet. Severe and potentially fatal complications such as endocarditis, necrotizing fasciitis, osteomyelitis and sepsis can occur. If MRSA overwhelms a patient's immune system, he typically dies.

Treatment of MRSA still relies on antibiotics, explains eMedicineHealth. Because MRSA is antibiotic resistant, more than one antibiotic is needed to treat MRSA. Even then, it is not always effective. The best way to determine which antibiotic combination a patient should use is through a laboratory test using Kirby-Bauer antibiotic discs on agar plates. However, the results of this test can take several days, so prompt treatment is not always an option.

As of 2015, MRSA is of grave concern to health care officials, according to MedicineNet, as it is one of the 18 microbes listed by the Centers for Disease Control as a multi-drug-resistant microbe.

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