Please find below some information about MRSA and the
steps you can take to prevent infection.
On this page you can find out:
What is MRSA?
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a bacterium
(germ) from one of the Staphylococcus aureus strains.
Around 30 per cent of the population carry it
on their skin or in the nose without knowing it and causing no harm
to them or others.
How is MRSA
MRSA is most commonly spread by hand-to-hand
contact. It may also be spread by touching bed sheets, towels,
cloths, dressings etc which have been used by someone with
What illnesses can
If the bacterium manages to enter the body,
for example through an open wound, it can cause infections such as
boils, pimples and impetigo (skin infection).
In more severe cases it can cause septicaemia
(blood poisoning), pneumonia, bone infections and heart valve
infections. It can also prove fatal in the most severe cases.
Who is at risk from
MRSA occurs most commonly with people already
in hospital. Patients on intensive care and surgical wards,
patients with urinary catheters and those with bed sores and burns
are most at risk.
There were a total of 1,898 cases reported
between April 2009 and March 2010 of which 1,003 cases were among
patients presumed to have been infected during hospital admission.
MRSA does not normally affect healthy healthcare workers.
the treatment for MRSA infections?
are usually treated with antibiotics (excepting boils or abscesses
caused by MRSA which may only need to be drained). However, the
choice of antibiotics is limited as most of them will not work.
Many MRSA infections can only be treated with
antibiotics that need to be given directly into the vein. The
course of treatment is often for several weeks. Also, the risk of
side-effects with the limited choice of antibiotics is higher than
the more ‘usual’ antibiotics which are used to treat non-MRSA
precautions you can take to prevent the spread of
- The most important thing is good hygiene, always wash your
hands with soap and water before and after visiting someone in
hospital. If you are a patient, having clean hands is just as
- Use the hospital alcohol rub which should be available on the
- If you are feeling unwell with a cold, cough or diarrhoea, stay
away until you are better.
- Ask hospital staff beforehand if it is okay to bring food and
drink onto the ward.
- When on the ward never touch dressings, drips or other hospital
equipment. If this is unavoidable always wash your hands after
wards and use the alcohol hand rub.
- If you think the ward is dirty or you see a nurse or doctor not
washing their hands after touching a patient, inform the nurse in
charge on the ward, it is in everybody’s interest.
- The same applies to hand washing if you are visiting someone in
their home who has had MRSA confirmed.
precautions do we take as an ambulance service?
ambulance service we remain fully committed to ensuring that all
our patients receive care in a clean and safe environment.
We take infection prevention and control
seriously and have implemented policies and procedures to minimize
the risk of infection.
All our staff have been trained in hand
hygiene and issued with an alcohol hand rub to ensure they can
always clean their hands in between patients. They also ensure that
the ambulance is cleaned appropriately after each patient.
More information about
For more information about what we do to prevent
infections, such as MRSA, clostridium difficile and norovirus, take a look at our infection
control manual (PDF, 307KB).