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MRSA Boil on Inmate's Arm

MRSA Infections are All Too Common in Prisons, Barracks and Hospitals


Updated May 20, 2010

MRSA picture

Picture of MRSA infection on an inmate in 2005.

Image courtesy of CDC/Bruno Coignard, M.D.; Jeff Hageman, M.H.S.
Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) can't be identified simply by looking at it.

Blisters and boils are the most common forms of MRSA infections on the skin. Commonly mistaken as spider bites -- even by physicians -- these staph infections are highly resistant to many antibiotics and can easily spread through crowded conditions like those of prisons or military barracks.

Even though MRSA most often shows up as blisters or boils, not all blisters or boils are from MRSA. Other forms of staphylococcus aureus, as well as group A Streptococcus bacteria, cause skin infections that look very similar. Whether it's a staph infection, a strep infection or MRSA, if the boil develops and doesn't go away in a few days, see a doctor.

MRSA infections that spread through hospitals and nursing homes are referred to as healthcare acquired MRSA (HA-MRSA). MRSA infections that come from somewhere other than in a healthcare setting are known as community acquired MRSA (CA-MRSA).

Any opinions expressed here are for educational purposes only and are not intended for diagnosis.

If you have your own MRSA picture you'd like to share, submit your MRSA picture here.

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