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.
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.
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.
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 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 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?