School of Life Sciences | Ask A Biologist

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MRSA

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  • Antibiotic resistant: when a group of bacteria can no longer be harmed or killed by a certain antibiotic... more
  • Bacteria: one-celled, microscopic organisms that grow and multiply everywhere on Earth. They can be either useful or harmful to animals... more

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MRSA, a very nasty group of bacteria

Scanning electron micrograph of MRSAYou learned earlier that many kinds of bacteria live on the surface of our skin. One common type is Staphylococcus aureus. Normally, these bacteria will work to keep other bacteria under control. They help to prevent skin rashes, sores, and infections.

Everything is fine as long as the staphylococcus bacteria stay on the outside of our bodies. Trouble starts when they enter the body through a puncture wound, cut, or deep scrape. Even worse, many of the staphylococcus bacteria are now resistant to certain kinds of antibiotics. They are known as MRSA, short for Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.

MRSAMRSA causes very serious, even, deadly infections. Most are skin infections. A person’s life could be in danger when MRSA gets into the bloodstream. MRSA can even infect a site where doctors have cut during surgery.

Scientists have learned a lot about MRSA. As many as two out of every 100 people carry the MRSA bacteria on their bodies. Lots of people have staph bacteria in their noses. Most never get sick.

Protect yourself!

You can protect yourself from MRSA infections with good personal hygiene. Follow these tips to help stop germs from invading your body.

soapWash your hands often. Keep your body clean, especially after exercise.bandaidKeep cuts, scrapes, and wounds clean and covered until healed.
sharingDon’t share personal items such as towels or wash rags.clockDon’t wait. See a doctor if you think you might have an infection.

 

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Additional images from Wikimedia via ArturoJuárezFlores (MRSA scan), and Bill Branson (hands being washed).

washing hands

Rember to wash your hands often in order to help stop the spread of germs.

book icon” title=“book icon Microbes

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washing hands

Rember to wash your hands often in order to help stop the spread of germs.

book icon” title=“book icon Microbes

Story Behind the Scenes

 

For Teachers

Download comic as PDF packet
or
Get a MagCloud version for print or iPad

Share to Google Classroom

Be part of Ask A Biologist

by volunteering, or simply sending us feedback on the site. Scientists, teachers, writers, illustrators, and translators are all important to the program. If you are interested in helping with the website we have a Volunteer page to get the process started.