MRSA stands for methicillin resistant
Staphylococcus aureus, a bacterium that has
developed a resistance to most antibiotics commonly
used for staphylococcus infections. These drugs
What is the reservoir for MRSA?
MRSA can affect people in two different ways:
When a person carries the
bacteria on the skin or in the nose without showing
signs or symptoms of infection, the person is
considered to be colonized.
If a person has signs of
infection that are caused by MRSA the person is considered to be infected.
Signs of infection that are caused by MRSA include:
Blood, stool or urinary tract infections
How does MRSA spread from person to
MRSA most often spreads from person to person by
direct contact. For example, in medical settings
MRSA is spread most commonly from patient to patient by healthcare workers’ hands.
How can you stop the spread of MRSA?
The single most effective way to prevent the spread
of infection is by proper handwashing, i.e. lathering
with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and rinsing with warm running water. Hands should be
washed both before and after contact with a patient.
Other measures include:
Use protective equipment
to avoid contact with another person’s body fluids
Gloves should be worn for all dressing changes
Protective equipment should be
disposed of after use
Hands must be washed
after removing the protective equipment
clean and dirty linen
Follow a schedule for daily
environmental cleaning including disinfection of
bedrails, IV stands and telephones. Observe the
isolation procedures of your facility.
Is MRSA more of a concern than other
The answer is both yes and no. MRSA is not a“super bug” and is no more virulent than
Staphylococcus aureus. However, all infections are
of concern to healthcare workers and patients.
MRSA is of particular importance because infections
caused by MRSA are very difficult to treat. Typically, MRSA infections are treated intravenously with a
drug called vancomycin. The side effects of this drug
may be quite severe, particularly in elderly or immunodeficient patients.
with invasive devices such as catheters, nasogastric
or gastrostomic tubes, or with intravenous lines are much more likely to acquire infections, including
What can be done to prevent the spread of
Educate the patient if possible about his/her
If possible, use staffing cohorts to take care of
patients with MRSA. If private rooms are not
available, cohort patients with MRSA. Ensure
that a patient with MRSA infection does not
share a room with a patient who is predisposed to infection, as described above.
Where can I get more information?
Contact the director of Nursing or the Southern Nevada Health District, Office of Epidemiology at (702) 759-1300.