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MRSA stands for methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, and it is a growing problem in the United States. Although most cases occur in hospitals or other health care settings, an increasing percentage is being noted elsewhere, including high schools and colleges (often spread by contact sports such as wrestling and football). Clinically, lesions start as pimples that rapidly evolve into painful abscesses. Although most cases are not serious, the causative bacteria can spread into the bloodstream and lead to dire consequences. Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control reveal that more people in the United States die from MRSA than from AIDS. Almost all of the deaths occur in individuals with weakened immune systems.
Resistant strains of the staph germ.
Suspected abscesses should be drained as soon as possible and cultured. Oral antibiotics may be required. The spread of MRSA is best halted by frequent hand washing or use of an alcohol-based sanitizer.