October 7, 2015
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MRSA Infection (cont.)

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What are the potential complications of a MRSA infection?

In general, CA-MRSA has far less risk of any complications than HA-MRSA as long as the patient does well with treatment and does not require hospitalization. However, people who do suffer complications generally have a chance for a worse outcome, as organ systems may be irreversibly damaged. Complications from MRSA can occur in almost all organ systems; the following is a listing of some that can result in permanent organ damage or death: endocarditis, kidney or lung infections (pneumonia), necrotizing fasciitis, osteomyelitis, and sepsis. Early diagnosis and treatment usually result in better outcomes and reduction or elimination of further complications.

What is a superbug?

The term superbug is a nonspecific word that is used to describe any microorganism that is resistant to at least one or more commonly used antibiotics. Some authors restrict its use to microorganisms resistant to two or more antibiotics. Unfortunately, the term superbug is used in the medical and popular press to describe several different types of organisms which can lead readers to be confused about specific diseases and the infectious agents that cause them. The most common bacteria described as superbugs are the following:

  • MRSA (Staphylococcus aureus strains resistant to multiple antibiotics)
  • VRE (Enterococcus species resistant to vancomycin)
  • PRSP (Streptococcus pneumoniae strains resistant to penicillin)
  • ESBLs (Escherichia coli and other Gram-negative bacteria resistant to antibiotics such as cephalosporins and monobactams)

Emerging superbugs may include multiple drug-resistant Clostridium difficile, VRSA (vancomycin-resistant S. aureus), and NDM Escherichia coli (New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase resistant E. coli); others are likely to develop, such as some strains of N. gonorrheae. In 2013, the CDC set up a superbug site listing 18 different genera and species as "threats" due to antimicrobial resistance. They are categorized as urgent, serious, and concerning according to their potential to cause serious health problems; MRSA is ranked as serious.

Where are other MRSA information sources?

"Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) Infections", Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

"Healthcare-associated Infections (HAI)," CDC

Medically reviewed by Robert Cox, MD; American Board of Internal Medicine with subspecialty in Infectious Disease


eMedicine.com. Staphylococcus aureus Infections, 2009.

eMedicine.com. Staphylococcus Infections, 2010.

Kallen, A.J., S. Bulens, A. Reingold, et al. "Health Care-Associated Invasive MRSA Infections, 2005-2008." JAMA 304 (2010): 641-648. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. MRSA Infections, 2009

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, National Institutes of Health. MRSA, 2008.

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, National Institutes of Health. Genes Key to Staph Disease Severity, 2009.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/4/2015

Source: MedicineNet.com

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