Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, is commonly spread through skin contact with someone who is infected or carrying the bacteria, states MedicineNet. Contaminated linens and surfaces, such as towels, doorknobs and sinks, can also pass on the infection, especially if a person has cuts or other types of skin damage.
MRSA is a bacterial infection that is resistant to antibiotics, and it usually occurs in health care settings after invasive treatments, such as implanted devices or surgeries, according to Mayo Clinic. In contrast, cases of community-associated MRSA affect healthy people who live in crowded environments or who are frequently involved in group activities, including child care workers, inmates, military trainees and athletes.
Approximately one out of 100 people is a MRSA carrier, meaning that the bacteria is colonized in the body but hasn’t triggered an infection, states MedicineNet. MRSA is commonly found in the nose, and since carriers are contagious, they can release contaminated droplets into the air by sneezing and coughing. If the bacteria is colonized on the skin, frequent scratching increases a carrier’s risk of spreading MRSA. The infection usually causes red skin rashes with pimple-like lesions. Eventually, individuals may develop abscesses or open, inflamed patches of skin that leak fluid. MRSA often leads to a host of skin complications, including boils, carbuncles and sties, and individuals are more likely to contract skin infections, such as cellulitis and impetigo. MRSA can gradually infect vital organs.