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In this SATIS Revisited resource students find out about MRSA infection, whether metals have antimicrobial properties, and the type of work carried out in testing a treatment to assess its effectiveness.

MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) is a highly contagious strain of the Staphylococcus aureus family of bacteria. MRSA can exist harmlessly on people’s skin without their even knowing it, but if it infects someone who is already ill or weak, it can be fatal.

Infections occur where there is opportunity for MRSA to get into the body, such as at surgical wounds or where a catheter or needle is inserted. MRSA is a significant problem for hospitals and care homes – and is known as a ‘superbug’ – because it has developed resistance to methicillin and other antibiotics, so infections are much more difficult to treat.

This unit contains four possible activities. Each activity can be carried out independently of the others, using the same introduction to set a context. The first activity, MRSA in the news, and the timeline exercise in comparing the antibacterial properties of metals, could be set as homework prior to the lessons.

Content of this unit:

Unit overview
Guidance for teachers

MRSA in the news

*Activity sheet A – MRSA: What the papers say
*Activity sheet B – MRSA: What the papers say (simplified version)
*Newspaper articles – see this weblink to an article about Michael Winner' experience of MRSA

What is MRSA?

*Data sheet – MRSA facts and figures
*Information sheet A – What is MRSA?
*Information sheet B – What is MRSA? (simplified version)
*Activity sheet – All about MRSA

Comparing the antibacterial properties of metals

*Information sheet – History of copper in medicine
*Activity sheet – Copper in medicine timeline (optional)
*Practical sheet 1 – Investigating the antibacterial properties of metals
*Practical sheet 2 – Investigating the antibacterial properties of metals

Copper and MRSA – How scientists work

*Investigation report – In vitro evaluation of copper: University of Southampton
*Investigation report – Clinical evaluation of copper: Selly Oak Hospital, Birmingham
*Activity sheet A – Copper and MRSA
*Activity sheet B – Copper and MRSA (simplified version)
*Information sheet A – What is MRSA?
*Information sheet B – What is MRSA? (simplified version)

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