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Thursday 27th October 2016


7th February 2007

MSSA stands for Methicillin-Sensitive Staphylococcus aureus and refers to all of the antibiotic-sensitive strains of Staph aureus, a common bacteria that can cause a wide variety of infections both in hospital and community environments. In other words, MSSA is the common type of Staph aureus that causes most Staph aureus infections and can be treated with penicillin-type antibiotics.

By contrast, MRSA stands for Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus. MRSA is a subgroup of Staph aureus that is resistant to a range of antibiotics, including penicillin antibiotics, and first appeared in 1961 soon after the introduction of the antibiotic methicillin, which is no longer used. Since then MRSA has spread around the globe and has been particularly associated with hospitals.

In general MRSA is no more likely to cause an infection than MSSA. Both MRSA and MSSA can cause localised or minor infections and, occasionally, generalised or severe infections. Because MRSA is resistant to a wide range of antibiotics, people with severe MRSA infections tend to remain ill for longer. For very severe, life-threatening infections the risk of death is about twice as high with MRSA than with MSSA.

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