What Is MRSA?

  • MRSA (pronounced mersa) is the acronym for Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Staphylococcus aureus is a type of bacteria commonly referred to as Staph.1

  • MRSA is a mutated2 form of Staph bacteria. It's called a super bug, because of its ability to cause serious/life-threatening infections and its resistance to antibiotics.

  • Note: Non-MRSA Staph or MSSA (Methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus) is able to cause the same serious/life-threatening infections as MRSA; however, it doesn’t have the same resistance to antibiotics. See footnotes 1 and 2 below.

Greatest Concern

MRSA was originally confined to large urban hospitals; however, MRSA has now moved into our communities at an alarming rate. Today the vast majority of skin infections seen in our communities,3 and treated at our clinic, are caused by MRSA.

This rapid spread of MRSA into our communities and into our homes is what I believe to be our greatest concern!


[1] Non-MRSA Staph or MSSA (Methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus) is found on the skin and in the nose in up to one-third of healthy individuals. In years past, non-MRSA Staph would typically develop into superficial skin infections including impetigo. 
-        Deeper skin infections are less common with non-MRSA Staph than with MRSA.
-        Both MRSA and non-MRSA Staph can cause invasive infections.
[2] MRSA bacteria have the mec gene inserted into their DNA. The mec gene privides resistance to the following antibiotics: methicillin, oxacillin, nafcillin, and cephalosporins.
[3] A study published in the June 2012 online edition of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine titled “Staphylococcus aureus Colonization in Children With Community-Associated Staphylococcus aureus Skin Infections and Their Household Contacts” found that 79% of skin abscesses were caused by MRSA bacteria.