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Bacteria that live on our bodies normally are called “commensal bacteria”. Our bodies are protected by a network of extremely sophisticated defenses, the immune system. Commensal bacteria are controlled by the immune system, and are prevented from getting to places in the body where they could cause problems (i.e., infection).

However, if our defenses are broken – for example, through a deep cut in the skin or a surgical wound; or in certain conditions which stop the immune system from working properly – then commensals like S. aureus and MRSA can break away from immune system control, grow uncontrollably and cause infections.

MRSA can therefore cause infections, and because it is often resistant to many of the antibiotics we use, it is more difficult to kill than other bacteria – hence being called a “superbug”.

Infections with MRSA will often look the same as infections with “normal” S. aureus. So, historically, when infection happened, a patient would be treated with antibiotics that would work against normal S. aureus. Because MRSA is resistant to these antibiotics, it would not be affected by the antibiotic; so, the infection would get much worse over time – sometimes resulting in death of the patient. MRSA has been implicated in deaths of up to 5000 human patients a year in the UK (many more internationally). The number of animal deaths it is involved in is unknown.

These days, any suspicious infection in a human hospital will be sampled to check if MRSA is involved. If it is identified early enough, MRSA can be treated successfully – in both humans and animals.

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All about infections

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Viruses vs Bacteria

The differences between bacteria and viruses Author – Elaine Pendlebury BA BSc  BVetMed DMS MRCVS  Senior Veterinary Surgeon (Science & Welfare) PDSA Bacteria (singular is bacterium) are one celled living organisms [&hellip

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How Bacteria are Spread

Humans and animals all carry their own specialised colonies of bacteria. These are generally harmless in the normal course of events and serve to prevent the growth of alien bacteria [&hellip

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Spotting Infections

Infections can generally be treated successfully with a single course of antibiotics, which may come in the form of creams or ointments, injections, or tablets, and many infections will even [&hellip

How we have Helped

I was truly devastated and lost hearing the diagnosis of MRSA. I thought my dog’s life was over. The MRSA was on my dog’s nose and diagnosed with a punch [&hellip

Alaska Sky

Jill Moss has helped all of us pet lovers in so many ways, regarding MRSA. I never even knew about how horrible this can be for our furry children, until [&hellip

Jan Stroncheck (USA)

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