The acronym MRSA is short for methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, an infection caused by the staph bacteria. This particular infection can be extremely troublesome because it is resistant to most antibiotics and can spread rapidly through the body. MRSA is extremely contagious and requires very little contact to spread from one person to another. An infection in a cut on the skin or complications after surgery or during a hospital stay are the most common causes of MRSA.
MRSA is usually broken down into two categories based on how the infection was contracted. An HA-MRSA infection is contracted in a hospital, and a CA-MRSA (commonly acquired) is any MRSA contracted outside of a hospital. Despite its resistance to most antibiotics, certain types can be used to successfully treat both forms of MRSA.
The risk factors for CA-MRSA include sharing exercise equipment in a gym, playing contact sports, work in an environment where unexpected injuries can occur such as a child daycare, and living in a situation that is both crowded and generally unclean. The people most likely to contract HA-MRSA are those with weakened immune systems due to surgery or disease.
Because of the variety of bacteria found in hospitals, HA-MRSA tends to be the most dangerous of the two types. It can take time and several types of medications to cure HA-MRSA, while oral antibiotics can often eradicate CA-MRSA.