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MRSA

Is a MRSA infection contagious?

MRSA skin and soft tissue infections can be contagious or spread from person to person by contact with the skin, pus, or infected body fluids of a person who has MRSA. Some people may be "carriers" of MRSA. In other words, the bacteria lives on their skin or nostrils. It may cause no problems, or it may cause infections on that person's body or be transmitted to other people. It is not unusual for people in the community who are in frequent close contact with or who live with a person who has MRSA to also become carriers of MRSA. MRSA is very common in the community, especially in children and even pets.

How is a MRSA infection transmitted or spread?

There are two major ways people become infected with MRSA. The first is physical contact with someone who is either infected or is a carrier (people who are not infected but are colonized with the bacteria on their body) of MRSA. The second way is for people to physically contact MRSA from objects such as door handles, floors, sinks, or towels that have been touched by a MRSA-infected person or carrier. Normal skin tissue in people usually does not allow MRSA infection to develop; however, if there are cuts, abrasions, or other breaks in the skin such as psoriasis (a chronic inflammatory skin disease with dry patches, redness, and white scales), MRSA (or any S. aureus) may proliferate. Many otherwise healthy people, especially children and young adults, do not notice small skin imperfections or scrapes and may be lax in taking precautions about skin contacts. This is the likely reason MRSA outbreaks occur in diverse types of people such as families, school team players (like football players or wrestlers), dormitory residents, and armed-services personnel in constant close contact.

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Reviewed on 6/30/2017

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