MRSA is a short name for Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. This is a bacterium that causes a number of very difficult to treat infections in humans. MRSA is actually a name that designates any strain of the Staphylococcus aureus bacteria that has developed a resistance to beta-lactam antibiotics. This large class of antibiotics includes penicillin, cephalosporins, monobactams and carbapems. These are most widely used groups of antibiotics that work by inhibiting cell wall synthesis by the bacterial organism. When the Staphylococcus aureus bacteria develops a resistance to antibiotics, it becomes extremely hard to cure the infection. Treatment and management of MRSA infections are one of the major problems in hospitals and nursing homes. This is mainly because these environments often collect people with open wounds, invasive devices, and compromised immune systems. These individuals are at the higher risk of infection, and the infections occur when healthcare providers move from patient to patient without performing necessary hand-washing techniques.
Symptoms of MRSA infection
The infection usually manifests in skin infections such as necrotizing fasciitis or pyomyositis. The infection makes huge progress within 24–48 hours of initial topical symptoms and after 72 hours, it invades human tissues and even becomes resistant to treatment. The infection usually begins with boils that become larger and painful within a couple of days, and open into deep, pus-filled boils. Patients usually complain about fever and rashes. When the infection affects vital organs, it leads to sepsis and toxic shock syndrome.
Treatment for MRSA infection
The first step of the treatment is to collect the culture from the infected area conduct a test of blood, urine and sputum of a patient. If laboratory tests confirm MRSA diagnosis, doctors will have to determine the severity of symptoms and tailor a proper treatment. Backbone of this treatment is still antibiotics, even though the treatment can be very complicated since MRSA has developed immunity to various types of antibiotics. In cases of moderate and severe MRSA infections, doctors will typically administer Clindamycin, Daptomycin, Linezolid (Zyvox), Minocycline, Tetracycline, Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, Doxycycline and Vancomycin type of antibiotics. In most cases, doctors will combine two or more antibiotics that are shown effective in treatment of MRSA.
Patients will usually have to be hospitalized and placed in room with others who have the same infection, or be isolated from the rest of the patients. In severe cases, patients will receive additional treatment that usually consists of medications, fluids, kidney dialysis and oxygen treatment.
Treatment often continues even after the patient is released from the hospital and includes taking oral antibiotics. It is extremely important to finish all doses of medications, as prescribed by doctor, to prevent any further antibiotic resistance and relapse of the disease.