Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Skin Problems & Treatments Health Center

Font Size

MRSA Infections Can Be Flesh Eaters

Denver Doctors Note 5 Cases of Flesh-Eating MRSA in 2 Years
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Oct. 12, 2006 -- Drug-resistant staph infections (MRSA infections) are on the rise and may, in rare cases, cause a potentially deadly flesh-eating disease called necrotizing fasciitis.

"Necrotizing fasciitis is still a rare disease, but MRSA no longer is," says Lisa Young, MD, in a news release from the Infectious Diseases Society of America.

Young works at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center and Denver Health Medical Center.

She and her colleagues tracked cases of necrotizing fasciitis from January 2004 to February 2006 at the Denver Health Medical Center.

During that time, 30 patients were treated for necrotizing fasciitis, according to medical records.

Five of those 30 cases -- 17% -- were due to MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), Young's team notes.

Their findings were presented in Toronto at the 44th annual meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of America.

But MRSA isn't the most common cause of necrotizing fasciitis, and most MRSA cases don't lead to the flesh-eating disease.

Second Study

Another MRSA study was also presented at the same conference.

That study had nothing to do with flesh-eating diseases. Instead, it focused on the common traits among 75 MRSA patients in Minnesota.

The researchers included Kathryn Como-Sabetti, MPH, of the Minnesota Department of Health and Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota.

Compared to patients with drug-sensitive staph infections, MRSA patients were more likely to have taken antibiotics in the six months before MRSA infection, the study shows.

The study doesn't show whether those antibiotics had been prescribed and used appropriately.

MRSA Prevention

Practicing good hygiene may make you less likely to get MRSA.

The CDC's web site includes these MRSA prevention tips:

  • Keep your hands clean by washing thoroughly with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Keep cuts and scrapes clean and covered with a bandage until healed.
  • Avoid contact with other people's wounds or bandages.
  • Avoid sharing personal items such as towels or razors.

Today on WebMD

Pictures and symptoms of the red, scaly rash.
woman with dyed dark hair
What it says about your health.
woman with cleaning products
Top causes of the itch that rashes.
atopic dermatitus
Identify and treat common skin problems.
itchy skin
shingles rash on skin
woman with skin tag
Woman washing face
woman washing her hair in sink
close up of womans bare neck
woman with face cream