In January 2008, study results were reported in a medical journal detailing the Staph infection called MRSA (pronounced MER-SUH). The response to these results by various media has made some people concerned about getting the infection. The recent study suggested that MRSA may be an STI, or sexually transmitted infection. However, the study was not designed to answer this question.
Staph is short for Staphylococcus aureus, a common bacteria found on the skin and other body parts of healthy people. Most of the time Staph doesn't cause problems but it can sometimes cause an infection, usually on the skin, most of which are minor. Though it occurs less often, Staph can also get inside the body and cause more serious infections.
MRSA is short for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus_._ Far fewer people carry MRSA -- about 1%. Many of these people still do not develop infections. However, MRSA can cause the same kind of infections as other forms of Staph, but it can also cause more severe infections even in healthy people. MRSA does not respond to a type of antibiotics that includes methicillin. This means that MRSA should be treated with different kinds of antibiotics than are used for ordinary Staph.
Below are links to other documents that may help you understand more about MRSA, how to prevent it and how to treat it.
- Community-Acquired Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus, from Magnet and San Francisco AIDS Foundation
- Community-Acquired Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (CA-MRSA), from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- What is Staphylococcus Aureus (staph)? from New York State DPH
- What You Need to Know, from San Francisco Department of Public Health