MRSA incubation period – How long is it ?

You may be asking – how long before I get ill? What is the MRSA incubation period? It could be minutes or it could be decades.

MRSA Colonization

1-2% of the population are thought to be MRSA carriers – with much larger percentages in some high risk groups. Only a small percentage of those have active MRSA infections. MRSA is usually an infection that preys on other wounds. If you become a carrier because of contact with another carrier it does not mean that you will develop an infection. It just places you at a higher risk if you do as there are some drugs that MRSA resists. So – your mrsa incubation period could be months or years or even decades. MRSA often waits until you have a wound, nick or cut which it can compromise. You can be healthy and feeling no ill effects for a long time – and you can stop being a carrier in many circumstances.

Transient MRSA

Sometimes MRSA only lives on us for a while. It may become dislodged by our hygiene habits or be held in check or driven away by other bacteria that may be easier to treat anyway. One of these is staphylococcus epidermis. Some studies suggest that up to 80% of the population may carry staphylococcus aureus (the SA part of MRSA) at some point in their lives. So your MRSA carrier status may change at any time

Silent Carrier

Because MRSA might live quietly on your skin or in your nose you may become a ‘silent carrier’. You might not be ill but others you pass it onto may have other health problems that make them more prone to having an active epidemic. This is particularly true of high risk groups such as prison inmates, medical staff, military people, sexually active males and females and those involved in high contact sports.

The PVL strains – shorter MRSA incubation period

Some MRSA strains do carry a mutation that is known as PVL (the initials of the men who discovered it.) These strains may more aggressively create pores in your skin which become the foundation of skin infections. This is more common in the community strains which infect those with little or no hospital contact. The only way to know however is to have an MRSA test. The MRSA incubation period on these strains may be days or weeks instead of months and years.

Other articles that you might find helpful

MRSA Symptoms – what are they?
What is MRSA?
How does MRSA spread in the family?
A simple
MRSA treatment guide
Exposure to MRSA – Should I be worried?
How do you catch MRSA?

12 thoughts on “MRSA incubation period – How long is it ?

  1. Pingback: Do I need a MRSA Test? - MRSA INFECTION EXPLAINED

  2. Solimar

    they did not work!Now those same specialists say that I may live alsmot a full lifetime! Don’t give up! Don’t let anyone who says negative stuff or gets tired of listening to you get you down! Just keep trying! New medications are developed every day! And sometimes your own body kicks in and helps!Good luck and keep trying the Centers for Disease Control even if they don’t want to hear from you! Ask them about the treatments for both situations MRSA and also for recluse spider bites. It might be best to make two different calls and ask about the spider bite first. Be as nice as you can but be persistent! Persistence makes the difference!Try to get them to know you and to feel sympathy for you and your loved one. Also, expect a LONG fight! There are just some diseases that take YEARS to fight but the end result is well worth it! I hope Andre gets well soon! As a common cat poster says Hang in there, Baby!

  3. Amira

    am a nutritionist and am afraid of this bacteria to get infected specially am working in a hospital and realized many of our patients have MRSA what can i do to avoid this

  4. Jon

    I am visiting my mother who currently has an infected MRSA boil on her nose. Is it unsafe for me to be staying in her home? Is handwashing enough to keep risk of infection low?

  5. denise chandler

    my son has had impertigo on and off in his nose ans always on the out side area ..he had his teeth out at the local hospital 2 years ago and hes constantly getting colds ..since.i also work as a carer in the comunity and i have a lady with mrsa .. my skin has been getting very sore on my back neck and face with spreading like sores would this be a case of mrsa??

    1. admin Post author

      It might be but it could be several other things. You will need to seek expert medical advice.


      1. Amjad

        ive been bitten by what we call a dseret recluse it resembles the brown recluse bit or mrsa wound in the same way it was on my leg it ate throw my muscle so deep that if i had waited another day to go in i would of lost my leg . they cleaned the bite and did everything right but i got mrsa from getting the bite it is uncurable so ive heard but there are pill for the red bumps it leaves on your skin and i got both form the spider bite . what they wont tell you is that mrsa was created ina hospital and is immuned to most medications but is easily passed

  6. Salli

    I have twin 14yr old sons. One of them came down with a extensive case of Staph on his legs, arms, face and back in August. His sores were not cultured. He was put on an IV Bag of antibiotics initially and then Bactrim, Cephalexin, and Mupirocin. His twin brother began the very beginning stages of Staph shortly thereafter and was put on Septra (can’t swallow pills so liquid was needed) and mupirocin.
    Now, last week, my twin that had the lesser case of Staph was seen for 7-10 Staph sores on his head hidden by his hair. They cultured it and it has been determined to be “MRSA”.
    They want to see them again in about 10 days for further testing (nasal swab) to determine if they are carriers. What does it mean if they are? And are there other tests that should be performed at this time?

    1. admin Post author

      They may have been reinfected from another source – school friend, family member, family pet. Given that the previous infection was not cultured it will be hard to know if this is a new one or the old one come back. Given that they had the nasal cream it is less likely that they have reinfected themselves.

      Dave Roberts

  7. Cheryl

    My family and I have been exposed to a child that has MRSA. What should we do? How long should I worry? Should we all be tested and/or treated? Who should we notify? What should I look for and how long? I am worried about my children.

    1. admin Post author

      Every day you are exposed to people who have the easier to treat, but often as dangerous staph aureus bacteria. 1 in 3 carry SA bacteria. If you have further contact with the child ensure that everyone in your family washes their hands soon after being with them.

      At the moment you should do nothing unless a family member seems to have a skin infection. If you want to take extra precautions then buy Hibiclens soap from you pharmacy and have the family bathe and wash with it for a week. If you can afford to have a test and it will give you peace of mind you might want to look at that option but it could be a very expensive way to find that you are all negative for MRSA carriage.

      You don’t need to notify anyone and if you go the Hibiclens and regular hand washing route you can pretty much stop worrying now. The chances of you being carriers is small and of you getting infections even smaller. Think of it as like crossing the road. You always take proper precautions especailly if you see someone driving badly but your chances of getting knocked over are remote. Your chances of getting an MRSA infection are remote

      Dave Roberts
      MRSA Infection


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