MRSA Fact Sheet
Marshall Medical Center in El Dorado County
In 2002, Marshall Medical Center treated its first case of a new strain
of MRSA. Since then, the number of people in the El Dorado County area
affected by this disease has steadily grown. Here you can find important
facts about MRSA, including how to prevent and treat it.
What is MRSA? (Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus)
- Staphylococcus aureus, often called ‘staph’ is a bacteria commonly
found on the skin or in the nose of healthy people. It is also found in
- Approximately 30% of people have staph in their noses and do not have any
symptoms. This is called colonization.
- Staph aureus is a common cause of skin infections but can also cause more
serious infections such as infections of surgical wounds, urinary tract
- Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is staph that has become
resistant to commonly used antibiotics.
- About 1% of the population is colonized with MRSA
- MRSA was first seen in England in 1961
- Seen in USA on the east coast in 1975.
- First seen at Marshall in 1986 in a patient infected at a Sacramento hospital
who was then transferred to a local nursing home and from there to Marshall.
- From that time to 2001 we have seen anywhere from zero to 12 cases a year.
Although a few of our cases have been hospital acquired most of them have
been infected prior to coming to Marshall.
- A new strain of MRSA appeared in the USA about 1999 in San Francisco. This
strain is more contagious than the previous strains.
- Marshall began seeing this new strain in 2002.
- Since then the numbers of persons with community acquired MRSA in the Placerville
area has soared resulting in many patients being admitted to Marshall
with MRSA infections.
What is the difference between Hospital Associated (HA) MRSA and Community
Associated (CA) MRSA?
- HA MRSA is found primarily in healthcare facilities and affects mostly
persons who have weakened immune systems, are elderly, receive frequent
courses of antibiotics, and have multiple illnesses and health problems,
and have surgery or catheters.
- Infections can include surgical site, urinary tract, bloodstream, pneumonia
- CA MRSA strains cause infections in otherwise healthy people in the community
and is not related to being in a healthcare facility. Anyone can get it.
- These are primarily infections of the skin but can also include infections
of the bloodstream, urinary tract and a very serious type of pneumonia.
Some of the skin infections may look like bug bites, boils, abscesses, etc.
Are certain people at increased risk for getting CA MRSA?
- Yes – Although anyone can get MRSA groups at higher risk include:
athletes, military recruits, children, Native Americans, sexually active
gay men, and prisoners.
How is MRSA spread in the community?
- Contaminated hands, close skin-to-skin contact, openings in the skin such
as cuts or abrasions, contaminated items and surfaces, crowded living
conditions, and poor hygiene.
How do you Diagnosis MRSA?
- By doing a culture of the infected site. You cannot tell by looking at
an infection if it is caused by MRSA. .
Can it be Treated?
- Infections of the skin can frequently be treated by your physician with
local wound care but may also require oral antibiotics.
- More serious infections may require hospitalization for intravenous antibiotics.
- Keep hands clean by washing with soap and water or use alcohol hand sanitizers
- Maintain good personal hygiene and a clean environment.
- Keep cuts and scrapes clean and covered with a bandage until healed.
- Avoid contact with other people’s wounds or bandages.
- Avoid sharing personal items such as towels, razors, clothes, etc.
What do we do in the hospital to prevent spread of MRSA?
- Use Contact Precautions for all patients with MRSA including those who
are infected, colonized, or who have a history of MRSA. This requires
that those who come into contact with the patient wear a gown and gloves.
- All healthcare workers are required to clean their hands with soap and
water or alcohol hand sanitizer before entering any patient room and when
leaving the room.
- Housekeeping of all patient rooms daily.
- Education of staff, patients, and visitors.
- A brochure is available for patients and visitors entitled “Living
with MRSA”. Copies are located in the information racks outside
of the hospital cafeteria or can be obtained by calling the Infection
For more information:
Marshall Medical Infection Control Dept (530) 622-1441 ext. 2635