Why is it important?


Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) has been recognized since the 1970's as a major hospital acquired pathogen that has caused problems in hospitals and other health care institutions worldwide. MRSA is a type of staph that is resistant to certain antibiotics. These antibiotics include methicillin and other more common antibiotics such as, oxacillin, penicillin and amoxicillin. Staph infections, including MRSA, occur most frequently among persons in hospitals and healthcare facilities such as nursing homes, who have weakened immune systems. Infected and colonized residents may serve as potential sources for the spread of MRSA in long-term care facilities. Residents are at increased risk of resistant infection due not only to colonization, but also to chronic illness and debilitation, multiple exposure to antimicrobial agents, presence of pressure ulcers, and indwelling devices. Elderly residents are at increased risk for colonization with MRSA, in addition to having the potential to carry MRSA for long periods of time.

MRSA has emerged as one of the predominant pathogens in healthcare-associated infections. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) data, the proportion of infections that are antimicrobial resistant has been growing. In 1974, MRSA infections accounted for two percent of the total number of staph infections; in 1995 it was 22%; in 2004 it was 63%. Approximately 20% to 25% of patients admitted to long-term care facilities are colonized with MRSA, and another 10% will acquire the organism during their stay.

Treatment options are limited and less effective, resulting in higher patient morbidity and mortality. And the high prevalence is a major influence on unfavorable antibiotic prescribing which contributes to the further spread of resistance. MRSA also adds to the overall staphylococcus aureus infection burden.


Through this learning module and clinical resource, you will learn to:

·         Develop an overall understanding of Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus. 

·         Explain the prevalence of MRSA and the importance for further research

·         Discuss behaviors that reduce the risk of transmission of MRSA

·         Implement evidence based-practice guideline/strategies in your facility in the care of older adults with MRSA

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