Is MRSA Infection Contagious?

38 comments

How contagious is MRSA? It is an infection that spreads in a many ways – but usually via skin to skin contact and via the hands. MRSA is a drug resistant type of the staphylococcus aureus (SA) bacteria. SA is on the skin of 30%+ of people and may be carried by as many as 80% of people at some point. MRSA is rare – 1.5% are thought to carry it, but in some cities it can be 10% – and it seems likely to grow.

SA can be as dangerous as MRSA, but is easier to treat as more drugs work when treating it it. The bacteria can live for up for several months on surfaces. Unlike viruses they don’t need a ‘host’ to survive. How is MRSA contagious?

Being MRSA Contagious & Shedding
MRSA is found in the nose but may also be found around the armpits and groin area. We shed bacteria onto many of the surfaces we touch. If you are already quite ill and stationary the bacteria can become concentrated around you and may be picked up by others.

Infection Clouds
Those who have MRSA in their noses can expel MRSA bacteria via sneezing during colds,flu and other respitory infections. This can cause contamination of the environment around them.

Contamination
We may contaminate surfaces when we are MRSA carriers. High touch surfaces such as door handles, computer keyboards etc can be bacteria hots spots that aid transfer to people’s hands. The bacteria can travel to other parts of their bodies or to the skin of others.

Is MRSA Contagious in Your Household
Familes should not share household items such as combs, hairbrushes and towels. These high touch items spread infection.

Transient Carriers
Nurses, doctors or friends may be transient carriers. They might shed the bacteria later that day via washing or changing their clothes but have carried it to another patient or high touch surface. Other transient carriers might include family pets which are the source of reinfection in many families.

High touch actvities and your skin
Contact sports and sexual acts involving nakedness are other means by which MRSA (or SA) can be transmitted to the skin of another person.

MRSA Contagious? What can you do?
SA and MRSA are very common. It is therefore impractical to suggest that ‘social distancing’ may protect a family or individual as you will often encounter MRSA in other contexts. Negative attitudes to MRSA positive people will also hinder rather than help as they seek to cope with their illness. The best response is a strong emphasis on hand hygiene within the family as this will help break the infection chain. Washing your hands 3-5 times a day for 20 seconds and after contact with a known MRSA carrier will eradicate a large part of the risk.

Please be aware that many will carry MRSA and never be ill.

MRSA BASICS
MRSA Symptoms – what are they?
What is MRSA?
Is MRSA infection different from MERSA?
MRSA Test – How is MRSA detected
Is MRSA Infection Contagious?
Can you catch MRSA from skin contact?
How does MRSA spread in the family?
Is MRSA airborne?

More MRSA infection questions below. Use the comments box below for your questions.

How is MRSA Treated
Will MRSA kill me?
A simple MRSA treatment guide

How do you catch MRSA
Is MRSA just a hospital infection?
Is there an MRSA incubation period?
Exposure to MRSA – Should I be worried?
What about sex and MRSA?
MRSA Skin – Catching MRSA from skin contact?
Chronic MRSA – I keep getting MRSA?
How do you catch MRSA?

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{ 38 comments… read them below or add one }

Celina Quinones October 25, 2013 at 11:00 pm

My husband was diagnosed with MRSA a week ago on his leg it was so bad they had to surgically remove it he was in the hospital for 4 days and given ivs and pill antibiotics he is now healing. The doctors had said the MRSA never hit his blood stream just the wound. How does this work, can it still come back? Also, we have 3 kids what should we avoid sharing with him and for how long?

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Infection Watch October 30, 2013 at 1:17 pm

Some antibiotics are better than others in dealing with bloodstream infections. Wound infections also often clear with treatment. The issue then becomes – are you still colonised and carrying the mrsa without illness, often in the nose. You could cause others in the family to be carriers but they could have been the ones that infected you, although they may not be ill. Ask your medical provider about decolonisation if other family members have health vulnerabilities.

Family hand hygiene will often cut infection risk to very low levels

Dave
mrsainfection.net

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Dal March 29, 2013 at 8:03 am

I was diagnosed four days ago with mrsa of my sinus’ and I’m still running a low-grade temperature. I have been on an antibiotic for this certain type of mrsa since then and will have to take it for a couple of weeks.

Am I considered to be contagious to others at this point? Is it safe for me to be around my small grandchildren? Or when will it be safe for me to be in contact with them?

How long does it normally take to get over a mrsa infection?

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shyann November 16, 2012 at 7:05 pm

i was told today i have mrsa. can i give it to my husband through kissing or anything. i have washed the sheets and towels and such but i am really scared the doc didnt tell me anything about it. just said yeah u have it heres what i am giving u have a nice day. please help i am kinda freaked about this

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Dave Roberts November 29, 2012 at 1:35 pm

If the MRSA is on your skin you can pass it to your husband but regular handwashing and bathing after sex reduces the risk considerably.

1 in 3 people have the SA part of MRSA on their skin which can be just as dangerous. Your husband could get it SA or MRSA on his skin but never suffer an infection.

There is a risk if his health is bad or he has skin issues but otherwise the risk is low if you wash and bathe after intimacy

Dave Roberts
mrsainfection.net

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Amanda Nogueras November 12, 2012 at 2:47 am

I was recently introduced to someone who has mrsa. I had never heard of it before and had no clue to avoid anyone who has it. I was one of many people who frequently hung out at this persons house. This person dated people and lived life as a normal person. When the person told me they had it they said I wouldnt get it. I never bothered to look the illness up online because I trusted that the person would not lie. Now a year after meeting this person. I’ve been having health problems and am beginning to get very scared. I haven’t had any sores but I’ve been having serious unexplained digestive issues. My family is also starting to have similar issues. I’m very upset now after researching this disease. I feel this person should have taken great lengths to avoid people as much as possible excepting their close family and friends. If I were to find out I was a carrier I would never want to expose anyone to the illness. I would try to avoid exposing people as much as possible. Not going out and living like a healthy individual. I personally feel this person needs to be in jail and isolated to that they cant get anyone else sick. The problem is the mentally sick and uncivilized people that will not take proper precautions.

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Dave Roberts November 14, 2012 at 11:40 am

I understand your concern but what you are suggesting is impractical. 1 in 3 people have the SA part of MRSA. As many as 1 in 10 people in your locality may have it.

They can not be relegated to the fringes of society. Unless people are sexually intimate the chance of transmission of the skin variant are low and for regular hand washers even lower.

There is also no indication that you have it. Digestive issues are usually only an issue for someone with a bloodstream infection caught in hospital.

You need to get proper medical advice re your digestion and apologise to your friend

Dave
mrsainfection.net

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frank shaw August 18, 2012 at 7:24 pm

I had penumonia ;i have emph.I went to emer. To treat pen.They drs took a sample phlem red col.Next day i was informed i had 2 super bugs one in one lung one in the other.I was in the hospital 10 days.Upon getting out i was giving oral anti. To take 2wks later i went to the hospital to be checked out to see if i was free of the super bugs, they took 2 blood samples after 1hr i was informed i was free of the infection.1 mth later i had a ingrown thumb nail and was infected again givin oral anti bac. Cream and phisohex cleanser,2wks later infections disease dr.informed me i was probaly a carrier of staph.My white cell count in the hospital was 30.

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Kim Moody June 27, 2012 at 7:48 am

My Father has the following Infectious Diseases.. MRSA, VRE , ESBL, PHENOMENA .. FUNGAL STAPH IN LUNGS AND VRE BOTH IN THE LUNGS AND WOUND .. MRSA I BELIEVE IN HIS WOUND AS WE SPEAK…I FORGOT TO MENTION THAT MY FATHER ALSO HAVE SOME OF THESE INFECTIOUS DISEASES IN HIS BLOOD STREAM..

HE HAS A GAPING HOLE THAT MEASURES 10 ” X 6 ” WITH THE TAIL BONE EXPOSED .. HE’S BEEN IN THE HOSPITAL’S NOW FOR 9 MONTHS AS OF 6-25-12 .. HE’S ON FULL VENT AND ALONG WITH A TRACH , FEEDING TUBE ALONG WITH HAVING TO DO DIALYSIS BECAUSE BOTH KIDNEYS HAVE FAILED… THIS WOULD BE THE 2ND TIME .THE FIRST TIME SOME HOW EVEN BEING SEPTIC SHOCK AND HAVING ALL THESE INFECTIOUS DISEASES HIS KIDNEYS CAME BACK SO WE WERE TOLD .. NOT REALLY SURE OF MUCH BEEN TOLD WAY TO MAY STORY’S.. MY FAMILY HAVE BEEN ASKED SO MANY TIMES ABOUT PUTTING OUR FATHER IN COMFORT CARE AND EACH TIME OUR MOTHER TELLS THEM THE SAME THESE ARE NOT MY FATHERS WISHES HIS WISHES ARE TO KEEP HIM ALIVE, SO NO. WE AS THE FAMILY WILL HONOR OUR FATHERS WISHES…

I HAVE BEEN LOOKING FOR MONTHS FOR SOMEONE TO HELP ME FIND OUT IF THESE INFECTIOUS DISEASE NEED TO BE REPORTED TO ANY HEALTH DEPARTMENT OR MEDICAL BOARD MAYBE THE INFECTIOUS DISEASE .. CDC.. IF YOU MIGHT BE ABLE TO HELP ME THAT WOULD BE A TRUE BLESSING.. I’M TRYING TO SAVE MY DADDY’S LIFE ! HOWEVER IT MAYBE TO LATE.. IF SO I DON’T WANT THIS TO HAPPEN TO ANY OTHER HUMAN BEING. THIS IS SO HORRIBLE AND VERY INHUMANE TO SAY THE LEAST!!! THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH FOR HELPING IN ANY WAY.. KIM !

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Dave Roberts June 27, 2012 at 2:15 pm

Several of those conditions are notifiable. Which state do you live in as this may have a bearing on that

Dave
mrsainfection.net

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liana June 16, 2012 at 3:14 am

I just got mrsa in the hospital.I have 2 grandchildren ages one and seven.The parents will not let me even in the house.Icannot blame them.Do i have to wait 6 months to visit them /Thanks,Liana

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Dave Roberts June 18, 2012 at 9:27 am

At least 1 in 100 people that your grandchildren meet will have MRSA anyway. 1 in 3 will have SA which can be just as bad but easier to treat.

If you have the common hospital strains they are less likely to catch them and less likely to get a bad infection even if they do.

Washing your hands when you arrive on your visit and you and the children washing their hands when you leave reduces the risk to virtually nil.

Your family members are over reacting, especially if your grandchildren are generally healthy anyway.

Your active infection may be healed in a week or two. You could be a carrier – usually in the nose – for the rest of your life

dave
mrsainfection.net

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Mary April 27, 2012 at 9:22 pm

My daughter has been diagnosed with MRSA, how does affect my grand-daughter (19 months old), is there anything special she should be doing to protect her? Also my mom lives downstairs from her and has psoriasis which is being treated by humira injections every other week. I know this effects her immune system. What precautions should we take with her?

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admin May 1, 2012 at 2:07 pm

MRSA is a harder to treat version of SA which is carried by 1 in 3 people so families with health challenges will always be vulnerable to others outside the family.

Within the family the best way to help everyone is regular handwashing. The hand picks the bacteria up from somewhere and then transfers it to the skin and the nose. Washing you hands before meals and after personal contact will help break the line of transmission.

Hibiclens baths can also help keep it from remaining on the skin

Hope this helps

dave
mrsainfection.net

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Julia Diffin April 12, 2012 at 3:50 pm

My husbamd is in the hospital with MRSA. How likely is it that I may get it from him? Thank you, Julia Diffin

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admin April 13, 2012 at 10:37 am

You may become a carrier because of your contact with him and may already be so. Many people shed their mrsa carriage unless it has become resident in the nose. This does not mean that you will have an infection, just that you are at more risk

Dave
mrsainfection

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Kris March 24, 2012 at 10:33 pm

My ex husband contracted MRSA last year. It is a Bactrim resistant strain. Since then he has had multiple breakouts, has spent far too many days in the hospital draining his sores and getting IV medication. His system seems to be having a hard time fighting ANY infection at this time. I’ve read that MRSA “eats” sugar and turns it into lactic acid and that the massive amount of lactic acid is what makes you septic. Is this really what happens? Will he be helping himself if he limits his sugar intake? (He loves to eat candy) Is it normal that he has so many issues in less than a year? What could he be doing wrong? I don’t want him to infect my son on one of his visits so I need to be very careful. Any guidance would be welcome.

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admin March 26, 2012 at 8:54 am

The lactic acid theory is promoted by websites selling quick cures. More rigorous scientific research is needed. Frequent infections can be caused by a number of factors including reinfection by a ‘silent carrier’ such as a family member or pet or friend in the community. Reinfection, because the mrsa is carried in the patients nose is also a possibility. Some of the drugs suppress MRSA rather than killing it. Helping rid the skin of bacteria with Hibiclens washes is also thought to help.

He might not be doing anything wrong – he might just be caught in a cycle of infection or have a genetic quirk that means his immune system is not creating defences against mrsa

Dave
mrsainfection.net

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Don Wilkins March 6, 2012 at 8:42 pm

If I as a care giver was to wash and clean everything to avoid transmission, door and cabinet knobs, cabinetry, etc. what would i use, lisol, 409, amonia, what will do the job and i suspect i would do this every other day..

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admin March 7, 2012 at 1:12 pm

Any kind of strong bleach on high touch areas plus personal handwashing should do the trick.

Dave
mrsainfection.net

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Carmen Holston January 29, 2012 at 8:36 am

I had surgery resently, and caught MERSA at the hospital, from a catherer. I am concerned for my grandkids and my husband, I want to know how contaigious I am to them? I am been treated w/sulfa, my Dr. said it was sensitive to this type of drug. My Dr. doesn’t seem tobe concerned. I also worry about it, because I still have a wound from the surgery tha is healing.

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Rhonda October 17, 2011 at 6:29 am

my? is if you have MRSA can you have sexual contact with ur husband and what about kissing! I dont want to give this to my husband & my grandbabies always wants a kiss so im really concerned about all this! I had nose surgery and the test showed I had MRSA, dont know how i got it seeing i can get it anywhere!

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admin October 19, 2011 at 10:54 am

Have you been given an option for nasal decolonization? There is a cream that can help remove MRSA from the nose

Dave Roberts
mrsainfection.net

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corrine October 12, 2011 at 6:08 pm

my grown son was hospitalized with mrsa in march, and now he want s to go see his new granchild is it safe for him to do so

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admin October 19, 2011 at 10:44 am

He may or may not be an MRSA carrier now depending on how he was treated at the hospital. The grandchildren will be exposed to staph in 1 in 3 people they meet. As many as 1 in 10 may have the MRSA type. It will be hard to for them to avoid it in people other than their grandad. When he visits there should be no shared towels, plenty of hand washing at meal times and last thing at night. This will reduce the risk of them becoming carriers considerably. The hospital strains of MRSA seem to spread less easily any way

Hope this helps

Dave
mrsainfection.net

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pam September 28, 2011 at 5:24 pm

I am a landlord and I’m renting an apartment that has a person that has the MRSA infection. How would I clean the apartment before renting it out to another tenant?

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admin October 3, 2011 at 2:37 pm

General cleaning with a hoover will get much of the shed bacteria you can also use this on soft furniture, beds etc. Any linen etc should be washed. The key then is the the high touch surfaces which should be cleaned with a disinfectant. These include door handles, light switches, all kitchen and toilet surfaces. This will generally be enough

Dave Roberts
mrsainfection.net

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Jacki September 22, 2011 at 12:26 am

I have had MRSA twice as a result of animal contact. (I work with dogs and cats) Ive never had a bad time with it and got through quickly and, I thought, thoroughly. There were 2 years between my two experiences. What I need to know is HOW careful do I need to be about passing this on to anyone else. I wash my hands thoroughly and frequently, and seldom am ill. If I felt sick, I would just stay home and not be around anyone else.
However, now, most people I am in contact with (not physical) are afraid of getting close. My cat scratch has been completely healed for three weeks and I finished all the meds, Tetracycline, a couple of weeks ago. So, how long am I a danger to anyone. My doctor just says “don’t worry about it”…this doesn’t satisfy others.

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admin September 22, 2011 at 8:57 am

Because of your work you should be a candidate for nasal decolonisation as you could be an infection ‘hub’. If you test positive for it in your nose then muporicin will help clear it. If you don’t test positive in your nose then you can be deemed MRSA negative. It does hide out in other places but some Hibiclens baths should clear those.

Dave Roberts
mrsainfection.net

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margaret September 21, 2011 at 6:12 pm

My brother has had mrsa twice in the last 18 months. He has been struggling being sober and has been living with us and at shelters. The infection starts with a cyst on his backside. It gets so large that it needs to be cut out. The VA cuts it out, gives him oral antibiotics, sends him home the same day and nothing more. I have 2 small children that get cuts and scrapes all of the time and it is super diffe=icult to be there every second to make sure they are washing hands after using the bathroom, etc. I am scared for my brother to be living in our home. I have these questions: 1 Is he contagious now? 2 What precautions should he take? For example, should he keep all of his personal things like phone, bike, backpack away from the kids? Should he lysol all doorknobs after using them? Should he wipe down toilets with clorox wipes after using? 3 Is there an antibiotic treament when he does not have a cyst to rid him of carrying it in a dormant stage? If so, what is it called? 4 What is the test called to see if we are carriers and don’t know it?
Thank you for any help!

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admin September 22, 2011 at 8:48 am

1 He might be contagious. The bacteria tends to hide out in the nose and groin area and then infect new areas of skin.

2 He should keep these things away from the kids as they are high touch items that might have bacterial residues

3 Cleaning doorknobs and toilet seats is a good idea

4 If he is nasally colonised there is a drug called muporicin that will help clear it. Hibiclens in a bath will also help clear residues from his skin

5 The test doesn’t have a particular name but it usually involves a nasal swab which is then sent away to be tested

Hope that helps

Dave Roberts
mrsainfection.net

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admin September 1, 2011 at 8:29 am

The hospital treating him should be giving him special pre-op washes and seeking to ensure his nose is decolonized. They will also often start someone on anti mrsa drugs prior to the op, give drugs after the op and also treat the area around wounds with anti mrsa treatments. This would especially be the case with such major surgery.

Hope this is helpful.

Dave Roberts
MRSA Infection

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steve wilson August 28, 2011 at 3:26 pm

Request a referell to see a CDC Docter and follow their advice and treatment.

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perezab August 18, 2011 at 3:58 am

my brother ishaving open heart surgery and has mrsa. what should he do?

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Geri August 12, 2011 at 4:41 am

Request a laboratory test ; WBC, diff and or complete blood count.

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Dawnette August 6, 2011 at 7:01 am

Husband has been treeted about 9 months with MRSA should I be checked or treated?

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admin September 2, 2011 at 12:42 pm

You should probably have a test to see whether you are a carrier. You could be a means of reinfecting him without having any symptoms yourself.

Dave Roberts
mrsainfection.net

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Beverly Reavis May 1, 2011 at 4:33 pm

Phillip Mattie is in Candler Hospital, Savannah, GA with MRSA; Phillip Mattie had gone to the East Georgia Regional Hospital, Statesboro, GA, 3 times in the month of April, 2011; sent home each time with meds, NO INFECTION. March of 2011, Phillip Mattie went to East Georgia Regional Medical Hospital, Statesboro, GA, sent home, mostly same diagnosis 2 times ….Monthly, Phillip Mattie sees his primary care physician in Sylvania, GA, 30 miles one way; gas is almost $4.00 per gallon, NOW WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

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