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Facts about MRSA


Staphylococcus aureus is a bacterium that is normally found on the healthy human body.  This bacterium is commonly referred to as “staph.”  It cannot be seen, but is usually found on the skin and in the nose.  It usually does not harm the person and does not cause the person to be ill.  Every now and then when the skin is broken, a person may develop a staph infection.  These infections are usually easily treated with antibiotics.

In the last few weeks, there has been a lot of media attention given to MRSA.  MRSA stands for Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus.  It is one of many bacteria that has developed the ability to “resist” or survive in the presence of some commonly used antibiotics.  Since the early 1970’s, Staphylococcus aureus has been adjusting to survive as people have been taking more antibiotics.  Despite its resistance, it is still treatable.  Your doctor will determine what the best course of treatment would be if you were to become infected.

Several Chicago-metro area schools have reported cases of MRSA infections among students.  The staph bacteria can be easily transmitted by contaminated hands and contact with cuts or abrasions that may occur in sporting events.  Sharing equipment or towels can also lead to the spread of the bacteria.

There are simple preventive measures to guard against the transmission of MRSA.  The best way to prevent an infection with MRSA is something you were taught as a child:  wash your hands and keep your body clean.  If you have a cut, keep it covered.

What Precautions are in Place at Adventist Midwest Health Hospitals?
Our hospitals have strict guidelines in place to prevent the spread of all infections.  These guidelines, a combination of Standard Precautions and Transmission Based Precautions, have been developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the federal agency charged with preventing and controlling disease, injury and disability.

Standard Precautions prevent the spread of disease, and include hand washing, the use of hand sanitizers and wearing gloves while caring for patients.  Caregivers treating patients who have been identified as having an infectious disease will use Transmission Precautions.  For these precautions the caregivers, family members and visitors also wear gloves, masks and gowns while in the patient’s room.  Our patients are invited to become partners in their SafeCARE by ensuring that everyone entering their room has properly washed their hands and follow isolation precautions when needed.

Resources where you can learn more:
Illinois Department of Public Health Fact Sheet:

Centers for Disease Control MRSA in Schools:

Centers for Disease Control Community-associated MRSA:

Centers for Disease Control Health-care associated MRSA:

Adventist Midwest Health SafeCARE Facts