Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) is a type of bacteria that is resistant to certain antibiotics. These antibiotics include methicillin and other more common antibiotics such as oxacillin, penicillin and amoxicillin. Staph infections, including MRSA, occur most frequently among persons in hospitals and healthcare facilities (such as nursing homes and dialysis centers) who have weakened immune systems.

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Electron micrograph of MRSA Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureu ...
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Although MRSA cannot be effectively treated with antibiotics such as methicillin, nafcillin, cephalosporin or penicillin, it can usually be treated with an antibiotic called vancomycin. Recently, however, a few strains of Staphylococcus aureus have even developed some degree of resistance to vancomycin. The vancomycin-resistant strains may be more difficult to treat. Newer antibiotics are being developed to address this problem.

The eradication of MRSA carriage in-patients and staff can prove difficult for a number of reasons. This is due in part to the emergence of resistance to mupirocin, a topical agent used in the attempted eradication of MRSA carriage. Other agents such as chlorhexidine have proved problernatic, due to the patients'' intolerance of them. Often the perception of being decontaminated can also lead to patients'' non-compliance with topical treatments.

Alternative approaches are thus required. Tea tree oil has been suggested as a possible topical agent with broad-spectrum antibacterial properties

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