What is MRSA?
MRSA is a bacterium (staphylococcus aureus) that is resistant to methicillin and related types of antibiotics. This means that the bacteria are impervious to a large group of antibiotics, making it difficult to treat. MRSA is a skin bacterium found in many people but generally does not cause any symptoms. In people who carry the bacteria, it is usually on the skin or in the nose. In some cases, the bacteria can cause an infection and in rare cases can lead to blood poisoning, a bone infection or pneumonia.
In most cases, people do not realise they are carrying the bacteria and the body gets rid of the bacteria on its own. Treatment against MRSA is possible with antibiotics. This requires laboratory tests to determine which antibiotics the bacterium is not yet resistant to. These antibiotics can then be used to treat the person against MRSA.
How do you get MRSA and in which countries is it common?
MRSA is transmitted mainly via direct skin contact, for example through the hands. The bacteria can also become airborne through sneezing or dander. In this case, inhaling the bacteria can also lead to infection, although this is rare. MRSA is almost non-existent in the Netherlands. In other countries, the bacterium is much more common and regularly causes outbreaks in hospitals and other healthcare institutions. MRSA also occurs in pigs and calves in the Netherlands. People who frequently come into direct contact with pigs and calves are often carriers of the bacterium themselves.
What can you do to prevent MRSA?
You can prevent an MRSA infection by maintaining proper hygiene. This includes washing your hands before eating and after every visit to the toilet. In hospitals and other healthcare facilities, patients with MRSA are treated and nursed separately to prevent spreading. If you are at a high probability of being an MRSA carrier, you will be tested for MRSA when you are admitted to hospital. This applies to people who have recently been to a foreign hospital, people who regularly come into contact with pigs, veal calves or broilers because of their profession, and people who live on a farm where these animals are kept.
Can I get tested for MRSA?
You can get tested for MRSA. MRSA testing is done via a nose/throat culture. The sample is sent to the lab and you will receive the results after five business days.
Questions or schedule an appointment?
Do you have any questions or would you like to make an appointment for an MRSA test? Please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 085 – 90 20 303.