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Staphylococcus Aureus, gram-positive, round-shaped bacteria that are usually found in clusters microscopically, are one of the most toxic bacteria known to man. It is frequently found in contaminated food and can be easily transmitted via ingestion of contaminated food and by touching someone infected with it. Staphylococcus aureus is fortunately susceptible to several antibiotics and can be treated easily. However there are new strains of this bacterium that are resistant to antibiotic therapy, especially methicillin, thus the name Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus or MRSA. Since it is resistant to several types of antibiotic, it is harder to control, being nicknamed a 'super bug', producing a wide range of symptoms ranging from slight to severe, including septicaemia, which is an infection of the blood. If you believe that you may have contracted MRSA due to an inadequate hygiene regime in a hospital or clinic just use our helpline to speak to an MRSA solicitor who will give advice at no cost and without further obligation on a potential medical negligence compensation claim.

Risk Factors

Not all people are at risk of contracting sicknesses caused by Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus. Some people are merely carriers but they do not get sick because of a healthy and strong immune system. Those most at risk are people who are immuno-compromised, that is their immune systems are weak. Those who have just undergone surgery, have a malignancy, a catheter, a surgical drain or an IV drip are prone to contracting MRSA.

Sanitation & Hygiene

Proper sanitation and hygiene is essential to control the spread of MRSA. Thorough washing of the hands is important before and after contact with patients both for visitors and hospital staff as well as prior to starting any medical procedure including basic examination. Those patients infected with the MRSA should be isolated physically from those with other infections. If you have been diagnosed with this infection and believe that you have acquired it because of the improper hygiene techniques employed by the hospital, then you may be able to instruct an MRSA solicitor to claim compensation since acquisition may be considered to be medical negligence.

MRSA Solicitors

If you have been injured due to the incompetence of a healthcare provider you should speak to a specialist medical negligence solicitor about your ordeal and the likelihood of a negligent MRSA surgery compensation claim. Time limits apply and it is in your interests to obtain legal advice from an MRSA solicitor at an early stage. Failure to abide by the Limitation Act may mean that the opportunity to claim compensation is lost forever. Don't delay - take legal advice now.

MRSA Information

MRSA stands for "methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus" and is serious infection because it is resistant to most antibiotics and afflicts its danger on the sickest and weakest of society. MRSA commonly infects those in hospitals, long term care settings and other healthcare settings. The major cause of this condition is poor hand washing among hospital staff, who pass the infection from patient to patient. While a normal person can tolerate and even get rid of MRSA, sick patients cannot get rid of the infection and can succumb to the disease.

When MRSA happens in healthcare settings, it is called "healthcare related MRSA". Besides hand washing, patients can get MRSA from breathing tubes that aren't kept clean, from IV tubing that has been handled without clean hands and from surgically placed items like artificial hips and artificial knees.

MRSA exists within the non-hospital community although it is much less common. For those who get it, a painful boil can develop and burst, spreading the bacteria to other individuals. This is called community-associated MRSA. It can occur in those who live in crowded conditions, among high school wrestlers and childcare workers.

MRSA of the skin starts like any Staphylococcal infection. A rash that has bumps or pimples can form and there can be boils. These often go deep to the skin to form an abscess that must be drained by the doctor or through the use of local heat until the abscess clears. The average healthy person gets rid of the infection after that. Antibiotics are generally ineffective unless you are in a hospital and have access to special intravenous antibiotics. In hospitalized patients with untreated MRSA, the MRSA can progress through the lymph system or the blood stream and can affect deeper tissues, such as surgical wounds, lungs (pneumonia) or the heart (endocarditis or pericardititis).

MRSA is only found in one percent of the population. The people who have it in the community often don't know it and are relatively healthy in spite of having it. It is the sick in the hospital that are most prone to severe illness and death from MRSA. These are people that have little health reserves to tolerate a foreign bacterium in their system. MRSA is often associated with infections of other types, meaning the person often has MRSA and miscellaneous infections all together.

The cause of MRSA is the overuse of antibiotics by the healthcare profession. As greater, stronger and multiple antibiotics were put in place, the bacteria evolved so that they became resistant to the common antibiotics. Doctors often treated viral conditions such as colds and flu with antibiotics-to which they are completely resistant. Instead, bacteria mutated to form super strong types of bacteria that are also not very susceptible to current antibiotics. Doctors have been unable to keep up with newer antibiotics that can fight these super-bugs.

Risk factors for healthcare associated MRSA include being in a hospital. Hospitals are places where MRSA is harboured in many places, including those things that sick patients come in contact with. Having any kind of medical tubing placed in your body, including urinary catheters, IV catheters or breathing tubes increases the risk of getting MRSA. If you reside in a long term care facility such as a nursing home or rehabilitation centre, MRSA is common and you can catch the disease. Because it is resistant to so many antibiotics, it is hard to treat and is therefore dangerous. Doctors can check for MRSA by culturing the nose with a cotton swab or by culturing urine, sputum or surgical drainage. Fortunately, there are new tests available that can detect MRSA DNA in a rapid test and it doesn't take a 48 hour culture to tell if a person has the condition.

The most common treatment for MRSA is intravenous vancomycin. It is one of the few antibiotics that are not yet resistant in MRSA organisms. Generally a hospitalization is required to get rid of the infection.



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The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here