The WHO warns of MRSA – Staphylococcus aureus bacteria resistant to methicillin-antibiotics. Here you can see their prevalence in Europe’s hospitals. The percentage indicates the ratio of Staphylococcus aureus found to be resistant to this particular antibiotic.

The bug

The history of Staphylococcus aureus is intricately connected to the history of antibiotics. It was this bacterium that led Alexander Fleming to discover the effect of the first antibiotic, penicillin. Staphylococcus aureus can be found on the skin and in the nose of healthy individuals, where it is harmless. But it can also cause harmful bloodstream infections and is the most common cause of post-surgical wound infections. It is feared in hospitals by weakened patients. The WHO warns of resistance to methicillin. These germs are known as MRSA – “methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus”.


The resistance 

Because bugs were becoming resistant to penicillin, the chemically similar methicillin was developed. If methicillin does not work, other antibiotics, which are often more expensive or cause more side effects, are used.



Text: Hristio Boytchev


Illustration: Nick Böse


Graphics: Simon Wörpel


Copy Editing: Christine Coester