What is MRSA Sepsis?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 09 October 2019
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Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) sepsis is a blood infection with staphylococcus bacteria that are resistant to treatment with methicillin, and often other antibiotics as well. This condition can be life threatening until the bacterial infection can brought under control. Because the staphylococcus organisms resist treatment with many first line antibiotics, the patient may require treatment with several medications before an effective treatment can be found.

MRSA sepsis first began to emerge in the 1970s, where it was primarily a problem among older adults, immunocompromised individuals, and intravenous drug users. In the 1990s, MRSA began showing up in more and more locations, and became an increasingly common hospital-acquired infection. People can get MRSA sepsis from surgical procedures, penetrating flesh wounds, and any other situations where they are exposed to MRSA bacteria and the bacteria manage to enter the bloodstream.

Once bacteria are in the bloodstream, patients can develop symptoms like fever, chills, confusion, hyperventilation, rashes, shaking, and eventual loss of consciousness. The treatment for sepsis in general is antibiotics given intravenously in an intensive care setting. For MRSA sepsis, the patient is usually given a medication like vancomycin or trimethoprim. In addition to antibiotics, the patient may also require supportive care including being placed on a ventilator, monitored for organ damage, and checked for signs of complications.


Due to concerns about the spread of MRSA, patients with MRSA sepsis may be isolated and treated in a secure area. This is designed to prevent the bacteria from entering other areas of a hospital facility, for the safety of other patients. People who interact with the patient may need to observe special precautions, as they can act as vectors to transport the bacteria to other parts of the hospital and could potentially transfer MRSA directly from patient to patient.

If given supportive care in a hospital setting, chances of recovery vary and the specifics of an individual case should be discussed with a physician to learn more about treatment options and the possible prognosis. The patient's underlying health is a factor. The earlier treatment is provided, the better the outcome for the patient, and the more attentive supportive personnel are, the quicker potentially dangerous complications will be identified and addressed. Even with very high quality care, some patients with MRSA sepsis will not recover because their bodies will be unable to fight the bacteria, and the complications of the disease may become overwhelming.


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Post 3

My grandmother died from sepsis. She was infected with MRSA at the hospital, after surgery. Her immune system was weak and she developed multiple organ failure. It was a shock for everyone because the surgery she had was minor. I still can't believe she died from an infection.

I don't think hospitals take enough MRSA precautions. It's too prevalent, the elderly and children can easily develop sepsis.

Post 2

@burcidi-- Yes, MRSA on the skin can reach the bloodstream. If that happens, like the article said, you might have fever, fatigue, chills and confusion.

But you are under treatment for your MRSA right? If you're taking antibiotics and if the antibiotics are working against the bacteria, you will be fine. The bacteria might get into the bloodstream, only if the infection is not being treated.

It's a good idea to watch out for MRSA sepsis symptoms anyway. Sometimes it takes a few days to know if the antibiotics are working or not.

Post 1

Can a skin MRSA staph infection develop into MRSA sepsis?

I have a skin staph infection. I just have swollen, red and painful skin right now. Can the bacteria reach my blood from my skin? How will I know if that happens?

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