MRSA, which stands for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, is often referred to in the press as a "staph superbug." To a degree, this nickname is correct.
MRSA is different from a "regular" staph infection in that the bacteria responsible are impervious to the effects of the drugs once commonly used to treat this infection, such as methicillin. This means that in order to treat it, healthcare providers first have to run tests and determine which medicines have a chance of fighting this disease.
"Staph superbug" also reflects the fact that MRSA is no longer confined primarily to healthcare settings like hospitals and dialysis centers (known as a hospital-acquired infection). MRSA can now be found in the community at large and presents a serious threat to public health. However, the infection is more likely to occur in certain settings, such as military barracks, dormitories, and daycare centers.
To minimize your chances of contracting or transmitting this "staph superbug," take the following precautions:
- Shower promptly after exercising
- Keep wounds clean and covered with a bandage until they are healed
- Do not share personal items such as sports equipment, razors, washcloths, and clothes
- Wash hands often and thoroughly with plenty of soap and warm water.
(Click MRSA (Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus) Infection for a more detailed look at this condition, including other transmission methods, how MRSA became a "staph superbug," possible symptoms, and more.)