Pathophysiology: Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a bacterium responsible for several difficult-to-treat infections in humans. It is also called oxacillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Healthy individuals may carry MRSA asymptomatically for periods ranging from a few weeks to many years. Patients with compromised immune systems are at a significantly greater risk of symptomatic secondary infection.
Statistics: A total of 1,111 residents (66% of all residents) and 553 staff (86% of available staff) in 45 nursing homes participated. The combined prevalence rate of MRSA in the resident population was 23.3% (95% confidence interval (CI)=18.8-27.7%) and 7.5% in staff (95% CI=5.1-9.9%). Residents who lived in nursing homes that were part of a chain were more likely to be colonized with MRSA.
Treatment: Treatment of HA-MRSA frequently involves the use of vancomycin, often in combination with other antibiotics given by IV. CA-MRSA can often be treated on an outpatient basis with specific oral or topical antibiotics, but some serious CA-MRSA infections (for example, pneumonia) often require appropriate antibiotics by IV.
Major Research: Research suggests that certain probiotic strains may help reduce susceptibility to active infection with MRSA. Reduced diversity and strength of the gut microflora leaves us vulnerable to opportunistic infections, while Lactobacillus species such as paracasei, and L. acidophilus, as well as Bifidobacteria animalis subsp lactis have been seen to offer a degree of protection against MRSA.