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Scanning electron micrograph of the interaction of MRSA (pink) bacteria with a human white cell. The bacteria shown is strain MRSA252, a leading cause of hospital-associated infections in the United States and United Kingdom. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a bacterium responsible for several difficult-to-treat infections in humans. It is also called multidrug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and oxacillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (ORSA). MRSA is any strain of Staphylococcus aureus that has developed resistance to beta-lactam antibiotics, which include penicillins and cephalosporins. Strains unable to resist these antibiotics are classified as methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus, or MSSA. The development of such resistance does not cause the organism to be more intrinsically virulent than strains of Staphylococcus aureus that have no antibiotic resistance, but resistance does make MRSA infection more difficult to treat with standard types of antibiotics and thus more dangerous. MRSA is especially troublesome in hospitals and nursing homes, where patients with open wounds, invasive devices, and weakened immune systems are at greater risk of infection than the general public.
May 30th, 2013
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