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Methicillin-Resistant Staph Infection

  • Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Publication Type:


Methicillin-Resistant Staph Infection

(MRSA; Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Infection)


Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus (MRSA) is a type of bacteria. It causes infections that may be hard to treat with antibiotics. It may happen in the community or in a healthcare setting.


MRSA is caused by a type of staph bacteria that resists some common antibiotics. It spreads through contact with infected people or items.

Risk Factors

The type of MRSA that happens in the community is more common in young children, athletes, and people in prison or the military. Other risks are:

  • Time spent in crowded places, such as daycares, colleges, and locker rooms
  • Skin to skin contact, such as with sports like wrestling and football
  • Having broken skin or an open sore
  • Sharing personal items
  • Poor hygiene
  • Using IV drugs
  • Having a severe illness
  • Being around animals
  • Men who have sex with men
  • Past use of antibiotics

MRSA that happens in a healthcare setting is more common in men and older adults. Other risks are:

  • Time spent in a long term care center or hospital
  • Being admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU)
  • Having a long lasting health problem
  • Being treated with an antibiotic for a long time
  • Having a wound
  • Being around a person with MRSA
  • Having medical devices in the body, such as a catheter


A person with MRSA may have:

  • Skin that is swollen, red, and painful or warm to the touch
  • A sore that is leaking
  • Fever
Infected Hair Follicle—Folliculitis.

Inflammed hair folliclehttp://services.epnet.com/getimage.aspx?imageiid=49344934si55550428.jpgsi55550428.jpgNULLjpgInflammed hair follicleNULL\\filer01a\Intellect\images\si55550428.jpgNULL16NULL2003-04-162543904934_165103Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.


The doctor will ask about symptoms and past health. A physical exam will be done.

A person's nose or wound might be swabbed to test for coverage of this bacteria.


The infection will need to be treated. Options are:


These steps can help lower the risk of carrying or being infected with MRSA:

  • Washing hands and body with soap and water, especially after working out
  • Not sharing personal items
  • Keeping wounds clean and covered until they heal
  • Getting care at the first signs of any infection

Draining the Abscess

The doctor may open the abscess to allow the fluid to drain. This may be all that needs to be done.

Draining the Abscess

The doctor may open the abscess to allow the fluid to drain. This may be all that needs to be done.


Antibiotics may be given to treat the infection. The one that is chosen depends on the bacteria and location.





  • Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/mrsa.
  • Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/methicillin-resistant-staphylococcus-aureus-mrsa.
  • MRSA. Kids Health—Nemours Foundation website. Available at: http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/mrsa.html.
  • 6/4/2018 DynaMed Systematic Literature Surveillance https://www.dynamed.com/condition/methicillin-resistant-staphylococcus-aureus-mrsa: Gualandi N, Mu Y, Bamberg WM, et al. Racial disparities in invasive methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus infections, 2005-2014. Clin Infect Dis. 2018 Apr 5 [Epub ahead of print].


  • David L. Horn, MD, FACP
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.