Intake Screening: MRSA Skin Examination
The appearance of MRSA skin infections is varied. Skin infections present as:
- Superficial MRSA skin infections: These include pimples, boils, and impetigo.
- Impetigo is a superficial skin infection that often has a crusty and/or blistered appearance.
- If left untreated, superficial infections have potential to progress into serious/invasive infections.
- Deep MRSA skin infections: These include abscesses and cellulitis. Both of these present as painful, red, swollen areas of skin.
Early Detection – Limits the Spread of MRSA
A medical professional should evaluate all skin infections because:
- Early detection and treatment of MRSA skin infections limits the spread of MRSA throughout a facility.
- Early detection and treatment of MRSA skin infections will minimize the need for more invasive treatment, i.e. surgery and/or hospitalization.
- Antibiotics are more effective at the onset of the infection, before the infection is allowed to progress.
- If treatment is delayed, infections can progress into serious or life-threatening infections.
MRSA Skin Surveillance – Who Is At Risk?
Inmates and staff need to be educated on reporting all skin infections, and high-risk populations should be monitored closely. High-risk populations include:
- Inmates recently discharged from the hospital.
- Patients with chronically open wounds.
- Patients with an indwelling catheter or other indwelling medical device.
- Patients with a depressed immune system, including:
- Patients with certain types of cancer, or those receiving chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
- Patients taking prednisone or other steroid therapy.
- Patients with HIV or AIDS.
- Diabetic patients.
- Inmates with itchy rashes. Scratching increases the risk for broken skin, thereby allowing entrance for MRSA bacteria.