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What is methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)?

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA, pronounced Mer-sa) is a drug-resistant staph infection that mostly affects the skin. There are two types of MRSA: health-care associated (HA-MRSA) and community associated (CA-MRSA). HA-MRSA infections occur in hospitals or similar health-care areas and are due to surgical procedures or medical devices such as intravenous tubing. CA-MRSA infections are due to personal contact with another person's skin or through the sharing of personal care items.

Dr. David L. Katz, MD, MPH
Preventive Medicine
MRSA stands for “methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus.” This is a strain of Staph aureus bacteria that is resistant to methicillin and a wide variety of other antibiotics, including penicillin. 
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a bad bug (technically a bacteria, but often referred to as a bug, nonetheless). Like other types of staph, MRSA can live on your skin or in your nose unnoticed until a simple scrape or scratch allows it to get through the skin’s defenses and boom--you may be faced with a bad skin infection. Infections often start out looking like a pimple or a bite and may progress rather quickly. In addition, the affecting
bacteria can stick around in your house and wreak havoc on all who enter.
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MRSA stands for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. It causes a staph infection that is resistant to several common antibiotics.

There are two types of infection. Hospital-associated MRSA happens to people in health care settings, for example hospitals. Community-associated MRSA happens to people who have close skin-to-skin contact with others, such as athletes involved in football and wrestling.
MRSA, commonly pronounced “mer-suh,” stands for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. It is one type of the Staphylococcus aureus germ (commonly called “Staph”). About one in three people have Staph germs on their skin or in their nose, and normally the germs don’t cause problems. Sometimes, though, these germs cause serious infections (called “Staph infections”) on the skin, in the blood or in other areas of the body.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.