Patients contract staph infections through skin-to-skin contact with infected individuals, according to MedlinePlus. A patient may also contract the infection if he touches something that has the staph bacteria on it.
Many people have staph bacteria on their bodies but never have any symptoms of an infection, explains MedlinePlus. These people are carriers who may spread the bacteria to others. Sometimes, they develop staph infections that make them sick.
Staph bacteria are very hardy and can survive on inanimate objects such as towels and pillowcases for a very long time, notes Mayo Clinic. A person who comes into contact with any of these items may contract the infection.
Damage to the skin increases a patient's risks of contracting the disease, according to MedicineNet. A person is more likely to contract the infection if he has an open sore, injects illicit drugs or uses a medical tube such as a catheter, reports MedlinePlus.
An infected sore or wound is very contagious, and anything that comes into contact with it can transmit the bacteria, explains MedicineNet. A person who has a medical device in his body or who has a weakened immune system has a higher risk of contracting this infection. Newborns, diabetics, breastfeeding women and people who suffer from cancer are also at higher risk of contracting staph infections.