Most people think that MRSA (methicillin-resistant) is mainly acquired from hospitals and other medical settings, but it can also be acquired in the communality. This type of bacterial infection is known as CA-MRSA.
The fact is that with the changes in hospital procedures regarding MRSA the cases of HA-MRSA (Hospital Acquired) are dropping in medical settings but CA-MRSA (Community Acquired) is on the rise.
Diagnosing CA-MRSA is done by a healthcare professional. This community acquired bacterial infection can be treated, but because of the seriousness of the infection, prevention is recommended.
Community Acquired MRSA
There are various strains of Staphylococcus aureus bacterial infections. Staph infections are from a highly adaptable bacterium that will rapidly develop strains that are resistant to antibiotics when antibiotics are overused or not taken properly. When the staph infection becomes resistant to antibiotics in the penicillin family, it is known as MRSA and when the bacterial infection is acquired in a community setting, it is known as CA-MRSA. These are some of the places that the infection can be acquired in the community:
- Fitness centers
- Sports fields
- Military living quarters
- Childcare centers
- Group homes
- Assisted living facilities
- Prisons and jails
There are some groups that are at higher risks for acquiring MRSA in the community, which include those participating in sports, especially contact sports, people with other health issues that compromise their immune system, and homosexual men. The only way to determine the specific strain of bacteria is with lab tests.
When there are symptoms of community acquired MRSA (CA-MRSA) a doctor will do lab tests to diagnose it and to identify the specific strain of bacteria (Is MRSA Screening Accurate?). A swab may be done or blood drawn to diagnose CA-MRSA. This will be necessary so that the doctor can prescribe the most effective antibiotic for treatment. One of the reasons that HA-MRSA has declined is because MRSA colonization is diagnosed and treated.
Antibiotics will be prescribed to treat all MRSA infections. In addition to medication being prescribed there may be lancing or surgery needed to drain the fluid in an infections. Sometimes infected tissue may need to be removed in advance cases to prevent the spread of the bacteria. When there are complications, those will need to be treated in addition to the bacterial infection. During treatment it will be necessary to prevent the spread of the staph infection.
One of the easiest ways to prevent acquiring MRSA is by washing with soap and water. When participating in sports or using shared equipment like at a fitness center, it is important to take a shower. Avoiding the over use of antibiotics and antibacterial products will help prevent bacteria from mutating into resistant strains of Staphylococcus aureus (Preventing Staph Infection). Using alcohol-based sanitizers is recommended when hand washing is not possible. Covering breaks in skin and using moisturizers to prevent dry cracked skin will also reduce the risks of community acquired MRSA.
As more is learned about community acquired MRSA (CA-MRSA) and increased preventive measures are taken, the rates of CA-MRSA is expected to drop like HA-MRSA.