There are 2 main strains of MRSA: hospital-acquired and community-acquired. Hospital-acquired MRSA is when an individual would obtain MRSA from the hospital and community-acquired MRSA is where you get MRSA basically anywhere outside of the hospital. Because hospital and community strains of MRSA generally occur in different settings, the risk factors for the two strains differ. Here is a list of the different risk factors.
Risk factors for hospital-acquired (HA) MRSA include:
- A current or recent hospitalization. MRSA remains a concern in hospitals, where it can attack those most vulnerable — older adults and people with weakened immune systems, burns, surgical wounds or serious underlying health problems. A 2007 report from the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology estimates that 1.2 million hospital patients are infected with MRSA each year in the United States. They also estimate another 423,000 are colonized with it.
- Residing in a long-term care facility. MRSA is far more prevalent in these facilities than it is in hospitals. Carriers of MRSA have the ability to spread it, even if they're not sick themselves.
- Invasive devices. People who are on dialysis, are catheterized, or have feeding tubes or other invasive devices are at higher risk.
- Recent antibiotic use. Treatment with fluoroquinolones (ciprofloxacin, ofloxacin or levofloxacin) or cephalosporin antibiotics can increase the risk of HA-MRSA.
These are the main risk factors for community-acquired (CA) MRSA:
- Young age. CA-MRSA can be particularly dangerous in children. Often entering the body through a cut or scrape, MRSA can quickly cause a wide spread infection. Children may be susceptible because their immune systems aren't fully developed or they don't yet have antibodies to common germs. Children and young adults are also much more likely to develop dangerous forms of pneumonia than older people are.
- Participating in contact sports. CA-MRSA has crept into both amateur and professional sports teams. The bacteria spread easily through cuts and abrasions and skin-to-skin contact.
- Sharing towels or athletic equipment. Although few outbreaks have been reported in public gyms, CA-MRSA has spread among athletes sharing razors, towels, uniforms or equipment.
- Having a weakened immune system. People with weakened immune systems, including those living with HIV/AIDS, are more likely to have severe CA-MRSA infections.
- Living in crowded or unsanitary conditions. Outbreaks of CA-MRSA have occurred in military training camps and in American and European prisons.
- Association with health care workers. People who are in close contact with health care workers are at increased risk of serious staph infections.