methicillin-resistant Staaphylococcus aureus (MRSA)
bacteria normally found in the nasal mucous membranes, on the skin, and in the respiratory tract and GI tract. Approximately one-third of the people in the U.S. are colonized with "staph" meaning that the organism is present in these locations but the individual does not have symptoms and remains healthy and uninfected. They can, however, pass the organism on to others. In the 1960s, a strain of this bacteria emerged that was resistant to the broad-spectrum antibiotic (methicillin) normally the drug of choice used to treat it. The very powerful antibiotic, vancomycin, had to be used to teat the MRSA infections that primarily occurred in HC settings. The HC-associated MRSA strain has more serious implications and accounts for more than 60% of the infections that occur in hospitals. Can be responsible for bloodstream infections, wound infections, ventiliator-associated pneumonia, and mulitdrug resistance. Intravenous vancomycin is the drug of choice for HC-associated MRSA, but if the bacteria develop resistance to vancomycin, then the infection can be treated with a synthetic antibiotic, such as linezolid (Zyvox). In a HC setting, the main mode of transmission is through contact with the contaminated hand of HC personnel or contact w/equipment. Basic infection control practices are key to the prevent and control of MRSA.