MRSA is most commonly spread by skin-to-skin contact particularly by the hands. It can however, also be spread by someone touching surfaces like toilets, taps and door handles which have been infected with someone else’s infection. Similarly, the sharing of “infected” items like towels, razors and bandages can result in the spread of MRSA . Even items like clothes and exercise equipment may facilitate the spread of infection. Although it is believed the superbug can survive for a period of some months on inanimate objects like gym equipment, the likelihood of such transmission is low.
Experts define the methods for contraction for MRSA into two broad categories:
- Hospital/ Healthcare acquired infection
- Community based infection
Healthcare Acquired Infection
As the name suggests this type of MRSA is generally contracted within the healthcare environment and is the most commonly occurring form of the bug. In the past few years health authorities worldwide have been battling to stem the spread of MRSA in hospitals and care homes. In 2003, MRSA accounted for 64% of all Staphylococcus Aureus infections recorded in US intensive care units.
In the hospital environment MRSA has found an ideal location for launching it's attack. With large numbers of people with weakened immune systems in close proximity to each other, the bug can spread rapidly.
Community Based Infection
Community based strains of MRSA infections can manifest as a mild skin infection such as a pimple or boil that is red, swollen and painful. It can drain pus, and a fever usually develops.
There are many opportunities for Staphylococcus aureus bacteria to encounter a wide range of antibiotics and, through genetic change and survival, develop resistance to all of them.