Bacteria Home > MRSA Virus

Is MRSA is a virus? No -- it is actually a strain of the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus. MRSA, or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, received its name because this particular strain of bacteria is resistant to the antibiotic methicillin. A MRSA infection can look like a single red bump that resembles a pimple or boil. It may also look like a cluster of red bumps and have pus or other drainage.

Is MRSA Caused by a Virus?

Over the past several decades, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA for short, has gone from being a controllable condition, limited mostly to hospitals and healthcare facilities (such as nursing homes and dialysis centers), to a serious public health concern.
 
MRSA is not caused by a virus. Instead, MRSA is a strain of the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus. MRSA received its name because this strain of bacteria is resistant to the antibiotic methicillin. It has since become resistant to a number of other types of antibiotics, including those within the beta-lactam class of antibiotics.
 
New strains of MRSA have recently emerged in the community that are capable of causing severe infections in otherwise healthy individuals. These MRSA infections are known as community-associated MRSA. MRSA infections that are acquired in the hospitals and healthcare facilities are known as healthcare-associated MRSA.
 
MRSA is often confused with a spider bite in appearance. Common symptoms and signs of this infection can include a single red bump that resembles a pimple, pustule, or boil. It may also look like a cluster of red bumps. The involved site may also be red, swollen, warm, painful, and have pus or other drainage.
 
MRSA skin infections commonly occur at sites of visible skin trauma (such as cuts and abrasions) and areas of the body covered by hair (such as the back of the neck, groin, buttocks, armpits, and beard area of men).
 
MRSA is contagious, spreading through direct contact with:
 
  • Someone who has an active infection
  • Someone who has been colonized (see MRSA Transmission)
  • A contaminated object.
     
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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