MRSA Skin Infections


MRSA has become a regular topic of conversation because of its prevalence in our schools and communities, and its tendency to cause deep, painful skin infections that are difficult to treat. 

Maze of Pus

  • MRSA bacteria found in our communities often carry a cytotoxin (cell toxin) gene.1 This gene allows it to produce a lethal toxin that kills both body tissue and white blood cells (WBC’s). WBC’s defend the body against infection. 
  • Abscesses are pockets of pus composed of dead white blood cells surrounded by necrotic, or rotting tissue. Abscesses are often deep, and commonly have multiple tracks or extensions into the surrounding tissue creating a maze of interconnecting pockets of pus. Though not always present, these interconnecting tracks of pus are a classic characteristic of MRSA and provide a challenge for treatment.
  • Antibiotics are ineffective, because they cannot penetrate into a pocket of pus. 

MRSA is a flesh-eating bacteria, i.e. it can cause necrotizing fasciitis.

MRSA Necrotizing Fasciitis 

Necrotizing fasciitis (flesh-eating infection) is a serious, and potentially life-threatening infection that devours flesh as it spreads. Flesh-eating bacteria, including MRSA,are the causative agents for necrotizing fasciitis. Necrotizing fasciitis can quickly spread, and therefore requires prompt treatment. 

MRSA Gangrene 

Gangrene is necrotic (dead) tissue that is the by-product of a serious (invasive) infection. At times it is used interchangeably with necrotizing fasciitis, or other infections that causes tissue necrosis or death. 


1 Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL) toxin gene: PVL is a cytotoxin (cell toxin) commonly produced by CA-MRSA.