Mercer Infection – Signs, Symptoms, and TreatmentsGloria Dsouza
Mercer infection is the one of the colloquial terms given for MRSA (Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus) infection. Initially, Staphylococcal resistance to antibiotics (especially to Penicillin) was unheard of. However, bacterias can mutate and develop good resistance against antibacterial medications including Penicillin, such as Methicillin, as well as against other Beta-lactam antibiotics such as Meropenem, Clavulanic acid and Tazobactam. Furthermore, resistance to Cephalosporins (such as Cefazolin, Cefuroxime, Ceftriaxone) were also studied and documented.
Surprisingly, the causative agent that causes MRSA, the Staphylococcus Aureus, has natural colonies in the human body. These natural bacterial floras are mostly located inside the nostrils. The skin is also a natural haven for this microbe. They normally stay dormant and do not cause any health problems. When immunity weakens and there is a break in the protective integrity of the skin, Staphylococcus Aureus now becomes pathogenic.
Staph infection is usually treated with Penicillin-class antibiotics. Often, Penicillin alone is quite effective. However, some strains of Staphylococcus had developed effective resistance, and mercer infection sets in.
Signs and Symptoms
In its early stage, signs and symptoms are generally fever and skin rashes. A raised, red skin lesion that looks like a pimple, a pustule or a group of red bumps, is also present. The common topical infection sites are wounds, cuts and abrasions, as well as the neck, inner thighs, back, the interior portion of the arms, and hairy portions of the body such as the beard, armpits and groin. Infection may spread to the sebaceous or apocrine glands located in the edges of the eyelid, creating a red, painful, swollen and irritating lump called a Sty or Hordeolum. As the infection worsens, skin lesions may feel warm due to inflammation, and can become more painful, swollen and larger, which can eventually rupture, creating a profound and purulent abscess.
If left untreated or if the causative agent has a strong resistance and virulence, it can cause havoc to other body tissues. Immediate medical intervention must be initiated when serious and life-threatening complications occur, such as Endocarditis (heart valve infection), Osteomyelilits (bone infection), Septicemia, or also known as Bacteremia, Toxic Shock Syndrome, severe cellulitis, and flesh-destructive complications like Pyomyositis, Necrotizing fasciitisand Necrotizing pneumonia.
Mercer infection can either be community-acquired or CA-MRSA or healthcare/hospital-associated or HA-MRSA. Risk factors include a weak immune system especially on patients with HIV/AIDS and those undergoing long-term chemotherapy and steroidal therapy, pediatric and geriatric patients, prolonged and multiple hospitalization confinement, long-term antibiotic therapy, as this can hasten bacterial resistance, invasive procedures such as surgery, urinary catheters and dialysis, frequent skin contact like mutual sharing or poor disinfection of personal stuffs like towel and clothes, overcrowding, skin trauma such as wounds and cuts, as well as poor personal hygiene and sanitation.
Mercer Infection Treatments
Both categories of MRSA infection are treated by antibiotics. The class of antibacterial medication to be used is dependent on the severity.
For mild to moderate infections, a sulfanomide combination of Sulfamethoxazole/Trimethoprim (Bactrim) or Co-trimoxazole for short, has effective results. Broad spectrum and semi-synthetic tetracycline antibiotics like Minocycline and Doxycycline, as well as Clindamycin, a lincosamide antibiotic, had all shown successful remedies against mercer infection.
However, when antibiotic therapy response is poor or when the prognosis worsens, a different line of antibiotics are given by an IV route.
For severe mercer infection, Vancomycin (Vancocin) and Linezolid (Zyvox) had shown the best results and are now the drugs of preference.
Other antibiotics may be prescribed, such as Daptomycin (Cubicin), a lipopeptide antibiotic, Tigecycline (Tygacil), as well as Telavancin (Vibativ), a potent MRSA bactericidal lipoglycopeptide. An antibiotic combination from the streptogramin-class, Quinupristin/Dalfopristin (Synercid), shows strong antibacterial action against MRSA as well.
Prophylactic antibiotic therapy may be continued for up to 2 months to prevent recurrence.
For topical skin lesions, antibacterial ointment or creams may be prescribed. Drainage of pus and fluid may be performed when severe skin problems occur.
Preventive Measures and Home Remedies
MRSA infection is contagious. It is always important to practice good hygiene and sanitation. Never share or use contaminated items. Patient’s personal effects and even eating utensils should be segregated. Cover ruptured wounds with sterile dressings. Encourage frequent hand washing with antibacterial soaps and disinfect with alcohol or any antiseptic solution.
Other effective home remedies include the use of essential oils, such as lemon grass oil and tea-tree oil.
Mercer infection is a highly communicable and potentially dangerous disease. With early diagnosis and treatment, along with consistent application of preventive measures at home, MRSA infection is not complicated to deal with. However, before trying any treatments, especially with antibiotics, it is always prudent to seek your physician’s advice first.