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What are germs? What's the difference between a bacteria and virus? How are germs spread? How can germs be eliminated? We're glad you asked. Find all this and more.

Staphylococcus (aureus and Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus/MRSA)

Germ Type: bacteria

Staphylococcus can cause diseases familiarly known as "staph infections." Non-MRSA staph is typically treated with antibiotics such as methicillin. MRSA is a type of staph that is resistant to most antibiotics, including methicillin; it can cause skin infections as well as other infections like pneumonia. Symptoms of a staph infection include red, swollen bumps or infected areas on the skin that are warm to the touch and contain pus, along with a fever. Staph infections, including MRSA, occur most often among patients in hospitals and healthcare facilities (such as nursing homes and clinics) who have weakened immune systems.

MRSA infections that are contracted by healthy people who have not recently been hospitalized or had a medical procedure are called Community-Associated (CA-MRSA). These can be skin infections (such as pus-filled lesions) and like typical MRSA can lead to other illnesses like pneuomonia.

  • Spread via: Skin-to-skin contact or touching a surface or personal item that has been touched by an infected person. Often carried on hands of healthcare workers.
  • Prevention: Frequent and thorough handwashing are critical in preventing the spread of staph infections, including MRSA. This is especially important in healthcare settings. Surfaces that touched by an infected person should be cleaned and disinfected.