If one antibiotic resistant bacteria that makes the news often, it is MRSA. Whether it be the recent
infection of newborns at a major clinic or the infection of a national football team due to improper cleaning of gym equipment, MRSA accrues a lot of airtime. MRSA stands for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Staphylococcus aureus is most commonly found under the anterior nares (nostrils). When the organism finds its way into the rest of the respiratory tract, open wounds, blood stream, or urinary tract, the bacteria can cause painful skin abscesses or even life-threatening infection to the bones, joints, heart, and lungs.
Those with healthy immune systems can often carry the bacteria asymptomatically, unaware of the pathogen for weeks or even years. However, those with compromised immune systems are at significant risk of symptomatic secondary infection which is why many hospitals have strict cleaning regimens to help reduce the risk of Staph. aureus hospital acquired infections. MRSA is particularly difficult to treat due to its resistance to methicillin, officially making it a “superbug”. Therefore, it is in hospital’s best interest to ensure that they focus on prevention and not intervention.
Symptoms of MRSA depend upon the site of infection, though some symptoms are universal.
MRSA most often infects the largest organ of the human body: the skin. While a MRSA skin infection often begins with a resemblance to an ordinary pimple, it is often accompanied by a fever and is slightly warm to the touch. These small bumps can soon (24-48 hours) turn into deep and painful abscesses that require medically supervised draining. After 72 hours, the bacteria can burrow deep into the skin tissue and become incredibly difficult to treat. If left untreated, MRSA can cause sepsis, toxic shock syndrome, and necrotizing pneumonia. If MRSA finds its way into the heart, it can cause infective endocarditis which affects the valves; if found in the bones it can cause osteomyelitis.
Hospitals, prisons, gyms, and any facility with high populations coupled with bare skin contact on surfaces are prone to outbreaks of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Because of this, many of these facilities have heightened their cleaning procedures solely to mitigate the risk posed by this troublesome bacteria. Regular screenings, surface sanitizing using alcohol and quaternary ammonium compounds, stringent hand-washing regimens, and proper disposal of gowns are all small measures many hospitals are taking to reduce the growing risk of Staph infection. Many new studies are being done in order to ensure the eradication of MRSA including the use of copper alloys instead of stainless steel.
Hardy Diagnostics now offers HardyCHROM™ MRSA which is a selective and differential chromogenic culture medium that facilitates the isolation and identification of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus to aid in the prevention and control of MRSA infections in healthcare settings. The test is performed on anterior nares swabs from patients and healthcare workers to screen for MRSA colonization.
This new chromogenic medium simplifies the identification of MRSA infections. MRSA strains
grown in the presence of chromogenic substrates produce deep pink to magenta colonies. Color development is bright, distinct and easy to read.
Selective agents will inhibit non-MRSA strains. Additional ingredients have been added to increase the sensitivity and specificity of the medium by inhibiting gram-negative organisms, yeast, and most other gram-positive cocci. This media has been approved for use in nasal cultures.
HardyCHROM™ MRSA is not intended to diagnose MRSA infection nor to guide or monitor therapy for MRSA infections. Concomitant cultures are necessary to recover organisms for susceptibility testing or epidemiological typing. A negative result does not preclude MRSA nasal colonization.
For more information on HardyCHROM™ MRSA, visit the HardyCHROM™ MRSA Landing Page.