MRSA, or methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus, is a staph infection that is resistant to a wide range of antibiotic. Because it is resistant to the common treatments for staph infections, it is known as a superbug.
Most cases of MRSA occur in people who have been in hospitals or other health care settings, particularly nursing homes.This type of MRSA is known as health care-associated MRSA (HA-MRSA). It is most associated with invasive procedures or devices such as surgeries or feeding tubes. The other form of MRSA, community-associated MRSA (CA-MRSA), begins as a painful skin boil and is spread by skin to skin contact.
An English study found 24% of nursing home residents and 7% of staff are carriers for MRSA. MRSA is currently the most common strain of Staphylococcus (the bacteria that causes staph infections) in nursing homes and hospitals.
Staph skin infections frequently start out as a small bump resembling a pimple or bug bite. It will quickly turn into a deep, painful abscess that requires surgical draining. The bacteria can also burrow deep into the body and cause life-threatening infections in the joints, bones, blood, heart or lungs. Those who are chronically ill, elderly or have compromised immune systems are particularly at risk. This is why MRSA is a particular danger to nursing home residents.