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MRSA Infection (cont.)

MRSA Infection Prognosis

According to the U.S. National Institutes of Health, the outcome (prognosis) of MRSA infection varies according to the severity of the infection and the general condition of the person who has the infection. People with good general health who have mild CA-MRSA that is appropriately treated recover in almost every case. Mild skin infections and even some moderate infections (boils, small abscess) can have an excellent prognosis if treated early and effectively. Other more serious or extensive MRSA infections have a range of prognoses (outcomes) from good to poor. MRSA pneumonia and sepsis (blood poisoning) have high death rates; the calculated death rate of invasive MRSA is about 20%.

Data are sparse on the on recurrence of MRSA infections. The recurrence rate of MRSA infection in mild cases is thought to be very low, but some investigators report that patients may be carriers for up to 30 months, so it is possible for a carrier to have a contagious period for this length of time. One group of investigators reports a 21% recurrence rate in HIV patients nine months after the initial diagnosis. Other investigators report a recurrence rate of 41% in individuals with MRSA skin infections. Most investigators agree that strict hygiene helps reduce the risk of recurrent infections.

As mentioned above, complications of MRSA can be serious and include sepsis, pneumonia, organ damage, tissue loss and scarring due to necessary surgery, and one that is due to antibiotic treatment, intestinal infection by the anaerobic organism Clostridium difficile. This organism and the problems it causes merit another article (see reference 4); it, too, is treatable but it may markedly extend the recovery time for a MRSA-infected patient.

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