Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)

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What is MRSA?

Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) is a bacteria that is resistant to certain types of antibiotics. These germs can cause mild to serious infections. Some people may have MRSA present in the nose or on the skin that doesn’t cause them any harm. This is known as Colonization.

Who gets MRSA infections?

People that are hospitalized or live in a community group setting often get the germ by direct contact with someone that has it or by surfaces that are contaminated with the germ. People with health conditions or those who have been treated with antibiotics have an increase chance of getting MRSA infections. Sometimes when a person has an MRSA infection, they can transmit the germ to others through skin to skin contact.

What are the symptoms?

MRSA infections can appear as a boil or pimple on the skin. It can also cause other serious infections if it gets in the blood, or pneumonia. Some people may have the germ and not have any symptoms. When a person has a skin infection it may look:

  • Red
  • Swollen
  • Painful
  • Warm to the touch
  • Full of pus or other drainage
  • Accompanied by a fever

How can I prevent the spread of MRSA?

In the hospital:

  • Ask your health care provider to wash their hands before caring for you.
  • Let your health care provider know you have MRSA so they can take precautions.

At home:

  • All people living in the house should clean their hands often and well.
  • Taking antibiotics as prescribed by your doctor. Never take half-doses or stop taking them before they are finished.
  • Keep wounds and cuts covered until they are completely healed.
  • Do not share personal items such as razors or toothbrushes.
  • Wash and dry clothes, linens and other household laundry using the warmest temperature that is recommended on the labels.

Health Care Providers

MRSA is not a reportable infection to the Health Unit.

If you are dealing with MRSA in an institution, please refer to Annex A: Screening, Testing, and Surveillance for Antibiotic-Resistant Organisms (AROs) In All Health Care Settings from the Provincial Infectious Diseases Advisory Committee (PIDAC) on Public Health Ontario's website.

If you would like to consult our Infection Control Nurse, you may call the Health Unit at 519-258-2146 ext. 1422.