Staph Wound Infections and Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus

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Infection control has become the primary focus of MRSA containment. National efforts are underway to raise awareness in the community about the existence of MRSA and to encourage preventive measures, such as covering wounds and better hygiene (such as routine cleaning of shared equipment, frequent hand washing and/or the use of alcohol-based hand gels). For more on the proper way to wash your hands, visit the Health Protection (Scotland) and Health Protection Agency websites.

Many institutions have put procedures in place to more rapidly recognize and address MRSA infections. Health care providers are being urged to request cultures and susceptibility testing routinely with outpatient skin and wound infections, to monitor them carefully for effectiveness of treatment, and to be alert for the possibility of CA-MRSA. Outbreaks of CA-MRSA are being investigated and traced back to their source in order to identify the cause, to determine whether other patients may have unrecognized MRSA infections or colonization, and to reduce the potential for additional cases.

Currently, patients with serious MRSA infections are usually treated with vancomycin in hospital. This is an antibiotic that must be administered intravenously (IV), often for several weeks. In most cases, vancomycin will help to treat the MRSA infection, but it does not prevent/eradicate colonization. Since 2002, a few cases of vancomycin resistant strains of S. aureus (VRSA) have been identified. There are a limited number of alternative antibiotics available to treat infections caused by vancomycin-resistant MRSA. The number of these cases is expected to increase, and there is growing concern in the medical community that we may eventually run out of treatment options for antibiotic-resistant S. aureus.

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