MRSA Infection (cont.)
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MRSA Infection Causes
Plasmids, genetic elements that can be transferred from one bacterium to another, cause S. aureus to develop resistance to antibiotics. At least five types of genetic material (SCCmec genes I-V) have been identified. Hospital-acquired MRSA (HA-MRSA) usually have genes I-III while community-acquired MRSA (CA-MRSA) have genes IV-V. HA-MRSA is resistant to more antibiotics than CA-MRSA. These plasmids are strands of DNA, separate from the bacterial genome, which can self-replicate and frequently are responsible for the synthesis of compounds that cause antibiotic resistance in bacteria.
MRSA bacteria can be transmitted by direct (though skin and body fluids) and indirect contact (from towels, diapers, and toys) to uninfected people. Also, some individuals have MRSA on their body (on their skin or in their nose or throat) but show no symptoms of infection; these people are termed MRSA carriers (see above) and can transmit MRSA to others. Statistics show that CA-MRSA is the predominant MRSA type found in the population. Most carriers are best detected by culturing MRSA from nasal swabs.
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