The term MRSA virus gets used quite a bit to describe MRSA infections. Unfortunately, this term is not only inaccurate, it can also cause crucial misunderstandings about what MRSA is and how it’s treated.
Basically, MRSA is a bacteria, not a virus. Common examples of bacteria that can cause infections are MRSA, Staph, Strep., E. coli, Salmonella and C. difficile. Some of the most common viruses are hepatitis, herpes, HIV/AIDS, the flu and the common cold.
The majority of Staph and MRSA infections are on the skin. Unfortunately, a MRSA skin infection can cause unsightly and embarrassing sores, sometimes leaving permanent scars on the skin. Open wounds and lesions can be quite contagious and help the infection to spread to others. Fortunately, infections of the skin are often less severe than an internal Staph or MRSA infection and treatment can be easier.
Staph aureus bacteria greatly magnified (Credit: Arduino/CDC)
There’s a fair amount of confusion online about what MRSA really is. Sometimes you’ll see it called MERSA, Staph MRSA, resistant Staph, Staph superbug, or even MRSA Virus.
What is MRSA? Is it a virus? Is it a bacteria? What exactly is it?