MRSA is typically contracted through skin-to-skin contact, similar to other staph infections. People with weakened immune systems are more prone to staph infections, making MRSA increasingly common in hospitals (CDC reports: 2% of healthcare associated staph infections in 1974 compared to 64% in 2004). Healthy people can contract these infections too. At risk are people who share towels, razors or other equipment that has come into contact with skin including athletes, gym members, children at daycares, military personnel, etc. MRSA infections can be life-threatening since the bacteria is resistant to common antibiotics, hence the name. According to the CDC, there were 478,000 hospitalizations due to either staph (S. aureus) or MRSA in 2005, making this an exciting research discovery.
Cao L, Dai C, Li Z, Fan Z, Song Y, Wu Y, Cao Z, and Li W. Antibacterial activity and mechanism of a scorpion venom peptide derivative in vitro and in vivo. PLoS ONE. In Press.