How Is MRSA Spread From One Person to Another?


Quick Answer

An infection of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, is transferred through skin-to-skin contact or exposure to contaminated objects, according to WebMD. For example, people housed in close quarters, such as athletes, and medical patients treated with invasive devices, such as catheters, have a higher risk of contracting the infection.

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Full Answer

MRSA infections are typically classified as heath care-associated or community-associated, states Mayo Clinic. Health care-associated MRSA is more common and occurs in medical or care-giving facilities where the populace is frequently in contact with surgical tools, artificial implants and other invasive equipment. Since people can be carriers without developing the infection, health care-associated strains often only produce symptoms among the most vulnerable patients, such as the elderly and individuals with immune system deficiencies.

Community-associated MRSA strains spread between healthy people in the general population and are most likely to affect individuals who have frequent skin contact with others, notes Mayo Clinic. Sexually active homosexual men, childcare workers and wrestling teams are among the most at-risk groups. People living in crowded quarters, such as prison inmates and soldiers, are also vulnerable, especially if the environment is unsanitary. When individuals are carrying MRSA, having open wounds further increases their risk of spreading the infection to others.

MRSA usually manifests as skin boils or sores, or it may worsen existing infections, explains WebMD. Outbreaks are cause for concern because the rapidly evolving nature of MRSA bacteria makes it unresponsive to most antibiotics.

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