There are many groups of bacteria known about and the Staphylococcus bacterial family is a very common one. The abbreviation MRSA literally stands for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus but for many people it is a term used to represent any bacteria of the Staphylococcus family that are resistant to common antibiotics used. These antibiotics include penicillin, amoxicillin, oxacillin and methicillin. There are at least seventeen strains of MRSA known about so far and these all have differing levels of resistance to different antibiotics. Currently in the UK two strains in particular are thought to cause more than 95 percent of the MRSA bloodstream infections. Antibiotics are used to treat infections caused by MRSA but treatment may need to be at higher doses, for longer duration and possibly given intravenously (directly into the blood stream though a vein).
MRSA can be carried by a person with no symptoms at all. It is carried in the nose, throat or the armpit where it can live without causing any harm. This is known as being colonised with MRSA. This person can still transfer the bacteria to other people who may be more at risk of getting a serious infection from it. The symptoms of MRSA infection are varied and depend on the person, their general health and the site of infection. Common infection sites include in surgical wounds, catheter sites, burns, eyes, skin and the blood.
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