The strain of staph bacteria known as healthcare-associated MRSA (HA-MRSA) is a severe concern in the medical community. Its resistance to many standard antibiotics has led to heightened scrutiny, especially given that over half of U.S. hospitals recorded at least one HA-MRSA case in 2013.
Though these infections saw a spike in the late 1900s, there has been a subsequent reduction, largely due to enhanced protocols and stringent precautions in medical environments.
Signs of a MRSA Infection
Healthcare-associated MRSA infections might first present as a reddish bump, resembling a pimple or boil. These spots can be warm, swollen, or sensitive. Accompanying symptoms can include fever, and in rarer cases, fatigue, headaches, rashes, or chest pains. While many cases remain localized, there’s a risk of the infection becoming widespread, endangering one’s organs and systems.
Possible severe outcomes from HA-MRSA include:
- Intense infections in surgical sites
- Infections in the urinary tract
- Lung infections
- Dangerous skin conditions like cellulitis and necrotizing fasciitis
- Bone diseases like osteomyelitis
- Severe blood infections leading to conditions like toxic shock syndrome, sepsis, or inflammation of the heart
HA-MRSA will typically manifest within about two days of leaving a medical facility.
The Origins and Evolution
Many staph bacteria variants are generally benign, causing minor skin issues. But the misuse of antibiotics has led to the evolution of certain antibiotic-resistant strains.
The development of antibiotic resistance often occurs due to mutations. While many mutations result in weak bacteria, some can lead to drug-resistant varieties. Misuse and over-prescription of antibiotics exacerbate this issue, allowing these resistant strains to flourish.
Staphylococcus aureus, the bacteria in question, has evolved mechanisms to survive and spread. It can produce a protective layer, known as a biofilm, and secretes specific proteins to weaken our immune response, ensuring its survival in challenging environments, including hospitals.
Transmission in Healthcare Settings
Medical facilities are hotspots for MRSA transmission due to the high influx of people, many of whom have weakened immune systems or open wounds. Proper hygiene is vital; unwashed hands or unclean surfaces can quickly spread the bacteria. The risk is compounded by the fact that many patients might be HA-MRSA carriers without exhibiting symptoms.
Current HA-MRSA Statistics
The CDC reported in 2019 that in 2017, Staphylococcus aureus was responsible for over 110,000 severe infections leading to nearly 20,000 fatalities in the U.S. But the silver lining is the decline in MRSA rates due to better surveillance and practices, especially in hospital environments.
Detecting and Treating HA-MRSA
Confirmation of MRSA involves testing tissue samples or nasal secretions. Depending on the symptoms, various tests might be suggested. Traditional testing might take up to 48 hours, but advanced DNA tests can provide results within hours.
Though healthcare-associated MRSA is often resistant to many standard antibiotics, alternatives like clindamycin, linezolid, and vancomycin remain somewhat effective. Treatment duration typically lasts a week, but severe cases might require extended treatment or IV administration.
However, we’d encourage healthcare professionals and/or patients who may be suffering from a MRSA infection to consider looking into Vitastem Ultra as a very effective treatment for MRSA infections. Vitastem is FDA-registered and available over-the-counter (OTC) and after 10 years of rigorous testing has proven to be 10x more effective at treating minor to severe wounds, including non-healing diabetic ulcers, over a dozen infectious skin diseases, and commonly antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections such as staph & MRSA too.
Preventing MRSA infections involves maintaining hygiene, avoiding contact with open wounds, and using personal items exclusively. Keeping wounds clean and covered, using non-absorbent footwear, and disposing of medical waste promptly also aids with prevention.