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How Long is MRSA Contagious?
Who Is Infected with MRSA
Those with weakened immune systems are more susceptible to contracting MRSA. Staph infections of the skin begin as small red bumps and often look like a spider bite. Often left untreated in the early stages, the infection can become abscessed and require draining via surgery or a wound vac. MRSA normally only infects the skin, but if left untreated it can spread to bones, the bloodstream, heart and lungs, thereby becoming a life threatening infection.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
- Those with weakened immune systems are more susceptible to contracting MRSA.
- MRSA normally only infects the skin, but if left untreated it can spread to bones, the bloodstream, heart and lungs, thereby becoming a life threatening infection.
The diagnosis itself takes approximately 48 hours because of the length of time required for the bacteria to grow. However, a new blood test is available that provides results within several hours. Many hospitals are choosing to treat MRSA with vancomycin, which is used in the treatment against resistant strains, however this course of treatment is not always effective.
When MRSA bacteria first begin multiply, no rash is visible on the skin and the patient will not have any symptoms. After one to 10 days, some signs or symptoms will begin to appear. However, not everyone who carries MRSA is symptomatic, which makes it difficult to keep it from spreading to others, even in a hospital setting. If MRSA is suspected or diagnosed, it is important to enforce isolation and have anyone who enters the room wear protective clothing, a mask, and gloves. MRSA is highly contagious and can be spread between individuals via skin-to-skin contact, shared items, such as towels or cups, and common surfaces such as tables and counter tops. Some strains of MRSA are completely resistant to antibiotics.
- When MRSA bacteria first begin multiply, no rash is visible on the skin and the patient will not have any symptoms.
- However, not everyone who carries MRSA is symptomatic, which makes it difficult to keep it from spreading to others, even in a hospital setting.
Once a person has MRSA, they remain a carrier and can put others at risk of contracting the disease 1. People can carry MRSA for days, weeks or even several years, during which time it is possible to have another infection or transmit it to others.
Reducing Risk of MRSA
There are ways to reduce the risk of transmitting MRSA, including washing items regularly with antibacterial agents, washing clothes separately and wearing a mask. Despite taking precautions, physicians often recommended that people who carry MRSA avoid others who may have a weakened immune system, including those with illnesses, children and the elderly.
What Are the Different Kinds of Staph Infections?
Early Signs & Symptoms of MRSA
Can Cranberry Juice Treat Gonorrhea?
Antibiotics for Klebsiella Pneumoniae
What Is an Alternative to Vancomycin?
Active Vs. Inactive Tuberculosis
Antibiotics for Staph Strep Infections
Complications of Cellulitis
Staph Exposure While Pregnant
Cures for Staph Infections
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention MRSA Fact Sheet
- MRSA Definition
- General Information | MRSA. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Jun 26, 2019.
- What is sepsis? Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Aug 27, 2019.
- Pneumonia | Pneumonia Symptoms | Signs of Pneumonia. MedlinePlus. Aug 20, 2019.
- Zeller JL, Golub RM. MRSA Infections. Jama. 2011;306(16). doi:10.1001/jama.306.16.1818.
- Rodvold KA, Mcconeghy KW. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus therapy: past, present, and future. Clin Infect Dis. 2014;58 Suppl 1:S20-7. doi:10.1093/cid/cit614
- Sai N, Laurent C, Strale H, Denis O, Byl B. Efficacy of the decolonization of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus carriers in clinical practice. Antimicrob Resist Infect Control. 2015;4:56. doi:10.1186/s13756-015-0096-x
- Anderson DJ. (2019). Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in adults: Epidemiology. Sexton DJ, ed. UpToDate. Waltham, MA: UpToDate Inc.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019). Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.
- Harris A. (2019). Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in adults: Prevention and control. Sexton DJ, ed. UpToDate. Waltham, MA: UpToDate Inc.
- Huang SS et al. Decolonization to Reduce Postdischarge Infection Risk among MRSA Carrier. N Engl J Med. 2019 Feb 14;380(7):638-50. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1716771
- Miller LG, Kaplan SL. Staphylococcus aureus: a community pathogen. Infectious Disease Clinics of North America. 2009 Mar;23(1):35-52. doi:10.1016/j.idc.2008.10.002
- Septimus EJ, Schweizer ML. Decolonization in Prevention of Health Care-Associated Infections. Clin Microbiol Rev. 2016 Apr;29(2):201-22. doi:10.1128/CMR.00049-15
Andrea Helaine has a Bachelor of Philosophy in theology and is currently finishing her thesis course for a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing. Helaine has been writing professionally for over 10 years and has been published in several anthologies and is currently breaking into the screenwriting market.