Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureaus (MRSA)

What type of infections does MRSA cause?

In the community most MRSA infections are skin infections that may appear as pustules or boils which often are red, swollen, painful, or have pus or other drainage.  These skin infections commonly occur at sites of visible skin traumas such as cuts and abrasions, and areas of the body covered by hair (e.g., back of neck, groin, buttock, armpit, beard area of men).

Almost all MRSA skin infections can be effectively treated by drainage of pus with or without antibiotics.  More serious infections, such as pneumonia, bloodstream infections, or bone infections, are very rare in healthy people who get MRSA skin infections.

How is MRSA transmitted?

MRSA is usually transmitted by direct skin-to-skin contact or contact with shared items or surfaces that come into contact with someone else's infection (e.g., towels, used bandages).

How can I protect myself from getting MRSA?

You can protect yourself by:  Practicing good hygiene [e.g. keeping your hands clean by washing with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer and showering after exercise; Covering skin truama such as abrasions or cuts with a clean dry bandage until healed; Avoiding sharing personal items[e.g., towels, razors] that come into contact with your bare skin; and using a barrier[ or a towel between your skin and shared equipment such as weight-training benches.

Should schools close because of an MRSA infection?

In most cases, it is NOT necessary to close schools because of an MRSA infection in a student.  It is important to note that MRSA trasmission can be prevented by simple measures such as hand hygiene and covering infections.

Information from

More information about MRSA can be obtained from the Minnesota Department of Health, Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Prevention and Control @ 651-201-5414 or Washington County Public Health @ 430-6655.