Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus (MRSA) is a type of bacteria. It causes infections that are hard to treat with normal antibiotics. It may happen inside or outside of a care center.
It is caused by a type of staph bacteria that cannot be treated by most antibiotics. It spreads through contact with infected people or items.
The type that happens outside a care center is more common in young children, athletes, prisoners, and people in the military. Other risks are:
The type that happens inside a care center is more common in men and older adults. Other risks are:
A person may have:
Infected Hair Follicle—Folliculitis
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The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done.
A person's nose or wound will be swabbed to test for bacteria.
The infection will need to be treated. This can be done with:
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 infection. Only a few can treat MRSA. The one that is chosen depends on the bacteria and location.
These steps can help lower the chances of infection:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Canadian Dermatology Association
Public Health Agency of Canada
Calfee DP, Salgado CD, et al. Strategies to Prevent Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Transmission and Infection in Acute Care Hospitals: 2014 Update. Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2014 Jul;35(7):772-796.
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/mrsa. Updated February 5, 2019. Accessed November 4, 2019.
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/methicillin-resistant-staphylococcus-aureus-mrsa. Updated May 21, 2019. Accessed November 4, 2019.
MRSA. Kids Health—Nemours Foundation website. Available at:
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Updated October 2019. Accessed November 4, 2019.
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].
Last reviewed September 2019 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Daniel A. Ostrovsky, MD
Last Updated: 8/12/2020