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MRSA – Symptoms, causes, risk factors and complications

MRSA (Methicillin – Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus) is an infection which is caused by a type of Staphylococcus or staph and this type of bacteria is resistant to many different of antibiotics which are used to treat the ordinary staph infections. In the most cases, MRSA infections are happening in people who have been in hospitals or other health care settings, such as dialysis centers and nursing homes. The term which is used when it happens in these settings is known as HA – MRSA (health care – associated MRSA). The health care – associated infections are typically associated with invasive devices or procedures, such as artificial joints, intravenous tubing and surgeries. There is another form of MRSA infection which has happened in the wider community among health people which is known as CA – MRSA (community associated MRSA). This infection often begins as a painful skin boil. CA – MRSA spread by skin – to – skin contact. People who live in crowded conditions, child care workers and high school wrestlers are populations which have a risk of developing CA – MRSA.

MRSA – staph infection symptoms

The staph infection, in which MRSA is also included, generally starts as a swollen and painful red bumps which might resemble spider bites or pimples. The affected area might be:

  • Accompanied by a fever
  • Full of pus or other drainage
  • Warm to the touch

They can very quickly turn into deep and painful abscesses which are requiring surgical draining. There are some cases when the bacteria remain confined to the skin. There are some cases when bacteria burrow deep into your body and this is causing potentially life – threatening infections in lungs, heart valves, the bloodstream, surgical wounds, joints and bones.

MRSA Symptoms and Causes

MRSA – staph infection causes

We know that different varieties of staph (Staphylococcus aureus bacteria) exist. The staph bacteria are normally found in the nose or on the skin of about 1/3 of population. You should know that generally bacteria are harmless, unless bacteria enter the body through a cut or other wound and even in these cases they cause minor skin problems in healthy people. There are some studies in which are said that less than 2% of the population chronically carries the type of staph bacteria which is known as MRSA.

Antibiotic resistance: The MRSA is the result of decades of often unnecessary antibiotic use. We know that for years, antibiotics have prescribed for flu, colds and other viral infections which do not respond to these drugs. There are some cases when even when the antibiotics are used appropriately, they can lead to rise of drug – resistant bacteria because they do not destroy every germ they target. It is known that these bacteria are living on an evolutionary fast track and this means that those germs which are surviving the treatment with one antibiotic, soon learn to resist other antibiotics. [1,2]

Risk factors: As we have said, there are two types of MRSA known as hospital and community MRSA. They happen in different settings which means that the risk factors for the 2 strains different.

Risk factors for HA – MRSA:

  • Residing in a long – term care facility: This infection is prevalent in nursing homes. Carriers of this infection can spread it to others even if they are not sick themselves. [3]
  • Having an invasive medical device: Medical tubing, such as urinary catheters or intravenous lines, can provide a pathway for the MRSA into the body. [4]
  • Being hospitalized: Many hospitals are worrying about MRSA because here it is affecting people who are most vulnerable, such as people with weakened immune system and older adults.

Risk factors for CA – MRSA:

  • Men having sex with men: It is known fact that homosexual men are having increased risk of developing MRSA infections. [5]
  • Living in crowded or unsanitary conditions: There are some studies in which are said that outbreaks of MRSA have happened in jails, child care centers and military training camps. [6]
  • Participating in contact sports: This infection can easily spread through abrasions, cuts and skin – to – skin contact. [7]

Complications: It is known that MRSA can resist to the effects of many common antibiotics which makes them more difficult to treat. This will allow to infections to spread and in some cases it can be life – threatening. MRSA infections can affect the:

  • Joints
  • Bones
  • Heart
  • Lungs
  • Bloodstream


[1] Kaur DC, Chate SS. Study of antibiotic resistance pattern in methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus with special reference to newer antibiotic. Journal of Global Infectious Diseases. 2015;7(2):78–84.

[2] Chambers HF, DeLeo FR. Waves of resistance: Staphylococcus aureus in the antibiotic era. Nature Reviews Microbiology. 2009;7(9):629–41.

[3] Crnich CJ. Impact and management of MRSA in the long-term care setting. Current Translational Geriatrics and Experimental Gerontology Reports. 2013;2:125-35.

[4] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA): For patients. 2019. Retrieved from

[5] Gadd C. MRSA skin infections associated with sex, drug use and environmental exposure in HIV-positive gay men. Aidsmap. 2005. Retrieved from

[6] Valle DL, Paclibare PAP, Cabrera EC, Rivera WL. Molecular and phenotypic characterization of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus isolates from a tertiary hospital in the Philippines. Tropical Medicine and Health. 2016;44:3.

[7] Jiménez-Truque N, Saye EJ, Soper N, et al. Association between contact sports and colonization with Staphylococcus aureus in a prospective cohort of collegiate athletes. Sports Medicine. 2017;47(5):1011-9.

Merlin Joy
Merlin Joy
Holding a doctorate degree, Dr. Merlin Joy AKA Sinatra developed passion for home remedies from her mother, grand father and grandmother. Sinatra loves to read books and hiking. You can contact her through [email protected]


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