How Can Medical Settings Reduce The Risk Of MRSA Transmission?


Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a serious infection caused by Staphylococcus (staph) bacteria. Staph is a group of bacteria that is commonly found on the skin and in the nose and causes numerous infections, including skin infections, pneumonia and food poisoning.

MRSA occurs when bacteria living harmlessly in the nose and on the skin begin to multiply uncontrollably, usually as the result of a cut or abrasion to the skin. MRSA is one of the most dangerous types of staph infection as, whilst others are easily treated with antibiotics, MRSA is very resistant to all types of antibiotics and is thus hard to treat. It is also incredibly contagious and can be spread by close contact with an infected person, or through touching an object or surface that they have touched.

There are two classifications for MRSA infections. These are:

  • Community-acquired infections(CA-MRSA)
  • Hospital-acquired infections (HA-MRSA)


Transmitted within the community, CA-MRSA can be picked up at home, work, school or out in public and most often causes skin infections. This type of MRSA usually occurs because of poor hygiene, or through close contact with an infected person.

If left untreated, CA-MRSA can cause pneumonia, further infections and even sepsis.


This type of MRSA infection is picked up in medical facilities such as hospitals, doctors surgeries and care homes. HA-MRSA can be picked up through contact with improperly disinfected surgical instruments or bedclothes, as well as contaminated hands and close contact with an infected person.

HA-MRSA outbreaks in hospital settings can spread quickly and be very difficult to contain. As with CA-MRSA the complications of the infection are severe and include:

  • Bloodstream infections
  • Surgical site infections
  • Pneumonia
  • Sepsis
  • Death

Symptoms Of MRSA

MRSA appears as a bump or infected area of skin. This can be difficult to notice in hospital settings especially, as if it takes hold at a surgical site it will be a lot longer before someone notices.

With an MRSA infection the skin will likely be:

  • Red
  • Swollen
  • Painful
  • Warm to the touch
  • Blisters and/or pus on the skin
  • Accompanied by fever

How Is MRSA Diagnosed?

When MRSA is suspected, the only way for doctors to definitively diagnose it is to perform a laboratory test (also known as a culture) of the bacteria. There are several ways to get this, including swabbing the skin, or taking samples of blood, urine or sputum.

Why Is MRSA Common In Hospitals?

There are lots of reasons that MRSA is prevalent in hospitals, the main being that around one in 30 people in society are already colonised with MRSA. This means that the bacteria is present on their skin and although not doing them any harm, can easily be passed onto others. In a hospital there are a huge number of people in a small space; patients, healthcare workers and visitors, so the chances are that there are a few people already carrying the bacteria.

This is why it is so critical that everyone in a hospital maintains proper hygiene regimes. Something as simple as a handshake from a visitor to a doctor, who then neglects to wash their hands before checking the healing of a wound site, could transfer MRSA bacteria to the patient and put them at risk of an infection.

Similarly, because MRSA bacteria can live on surfaces and fabrics for a long time and hospitals tend to have fairly heavy footfall throughout the day, improperly cleaned areas are a serious risk for transmission.

Hospitals are also full of people with an excess of entry points and areas of their bodies that are vulnerable to infection. People with fresh wounds or recovering from surgeries, as well as things like feeding tubes, catheters and IVs all put the people staying in hospital at a higher risk of MRSA.

MRSA And Air Purifiers

One of the most difficult things about fighting MRSA infection is its antibiotic resistance. Without being able to effectively treat the infection with antibiotics, avoiding the infection in the first place is crucial.

Effective Air purifiers are a vital tool in keeping homes, businesses and healthcare settings clean and safe, removing airborne contaminants and in some cases, even killing bacteria present on surfaces.

Many hospitals are already using air purifiers in an attempt to prevent MRSA infections, but choosing the right type of air purifier is also important. Filter-based purifiers simply harvest dangerous microbes in the air and hold them within the purifier without destroying them, which in a healthcare setting is unsafe.

The Airius PureAir series offers full airborne and surface protection, using an advanced oxidation technology called Photohydroionization (PHI), manufactured by RGF Environmental, one of the worlds leading specialists in air, water and food purification, to neutralise and destroy pollutants. The PHI Cell uses a broad-spectrum UV light to emit Ionised Hydroperoxides into the air. Hydroperoxides may sound complex, but are in fact the natural reaction in our atmosphere when oxygen molecules, water vapour and electro-magnetic energy meet.

These natural cleaning agents are circulated into the air and (depending on the pollutant) either destroy the harmful microbes, or change their molecular structure rendering them harmless. Whilst some other UV-based air purification systems have been deemed harmful for human health, this process is completely natural and safe to circulate in the home, as well as in medical settings.

In a study by Kansas State University, PHI Cell technology was found to have a 99%+ inactivation rate when tested on MRSA.

Talk to Airius about preventing MRSA with PureAir Technology

Our PureAir range of PHI air purifiers have been scientifically proven to destroy MRSA bacteria on surfaces and in the atmosphere and thanks to their ease of installation and economical price, keeping staff and visitors safe from this deadly disease is an extremely cost effective solution for most businesses.

Please get in touch on 01202 554 200 or via email at to find out more.