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MRSA

MRSA stands for “Meticillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus”. So what does that mean?

Staph aureus bacteria is found on the skin or in the nose of 1 in 3 people. Drug resistant staph – known as MRSA – is generally only found in about 1-2% of the population. But it’s killing more people than AIDS.

(MRSA is a bacterium, not a virus. MRSA is also known as merca infection, golden staph, mursa infection.

MRSA Bacterium

Bacteria are tiny organisms which can only be seen under the microscope. In the same way as there are many types of mammal, of which dogs are one variety, there are many types of bacteria. One variety is known as Staphylococcus aureus (also known as Staph. aureus or S. aureus).

The name Staphylococcus aureus simply refers to what the bacteria looks like. When it is grown, it forms golden-coloured colonies (“aureus” means “golden”). Under the microscope, Staph. aureus are round bacteria and group themselves together so that they look like bunches of grapes. “Coccus” (plural: “cocci”) means a round bacterium and “Staphlye” means “a bunch of grapes”!)

Staph. aureus bacteria live harmlessly all around us, and live quite normally on human skin. In the same way as there are different breeds of dog, there are different “breeds” of S. aureus. MRSA stands for “Meticillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus”. Meticillin is an antibiotic, related to penicillin, which kills most staphylococci. Meticillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus is a “breed” of Staphylococcus aureus which is not killed by meticillin. It is often also resistant to many other antibiotics which would kill other Staphylococci. While the media have focused on MRSA as if it is a single type of bacteria, there are actually lots of different types (called “strains” or “clones”) of MRSA. There are different types found in different countries.

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