How Long is MRSA Contagious?


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention MRSA (methicllin-resistant staphylococcus) is staph infection that is resistant to antibiotics. MRSA can be a fatal infection and commonly occurs in health care settings, including hospitals and nursing homes.

Who Is Infected with MRSA

  • Those with weakened immune systems are more susceptible to contracting MRSA. Staph infections of the skin begin as small red bumps and often look like a spider bite. Often left untreated in the early stages, the infection can become abscessed and require draining via surgery or a wound vac. MRSA normally only infects the skin, but if left untreated it can spread to bones, the bloodstream, heart and lungs, thereby becoming a life threatening infection.


  • The diagnosis itself takes approximately 48 hours because of the length of time required for the bacteria to grow. However, a new blood test is available that provides results within several hours. Many hospitals are choosing to treat MRSA with vancomycin, which is used in the treatment against resistant strains, however this course of treatment is not always effective.

MRSA Incubation

  • When MRSA bacteria first begin multiply, no rash is visible on the skin and the patient will not have any symptoms. After one to 10 days, some signs or symptoms will begin to appear. However, not everyone who carries MRSA is symptomatic, which makes it difficult to keep it from spreading to others, even in a hospital setting. If MRSA is suspected or diagnosed, it is important to enforce isolation and have anyone who enters the room wear protective clothing, a mask, and gloves. MRSA is highly contagious and can be spread between individuals via skin-to-skin contact, shared items, such as towels or cups, and common surfaces such as tables and counter tops. Some strains of MRSA are completely resistant to antibiotics.

Carrying MRSA

  • Once a person has MRSA, they remain a carrier and can put others at risk of contracting the disease. People can carry MRSA for days, weeks or even several years, during which time it is possible to have another infection or transmit it to others.

Reducing Risk of MRSA

  • There are ways to reduce the risk of transmitting MRSA, including washing items regularly with antibacterial agents, washing clothes separately and wearing a mask. Despite taking precautions, physicians often recommended that people who carry MRSA avoid others who may have a weakened immune system, including those with illnesses, children and the elderly.


  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images
Promoted By Zergnet

You May Also Like

  • What Is the MRSA Virus?

    MRSA is a bacterium that's resistant to treatment with commonly used antibiotics. MRSA stands for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Bacteria in the MRSA...

  • Is Pneumonia Contagious After Taking Antibiotics?

    Pneumonia can originate from several causes, including staphylococcus aureus (the staph bacteria, which is related to MRSA). Symptoms for each kind of...

  • What Is the Contagious Period for the Flu?

    The flu virus was isolated and identified in the early 1930s, and shortly before then, a flu pandemic killed up to 100...

  • Antibiotics Used to Treat Staph MRSA

    The MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) is a strain of the staph bacteria that lives on 20 to 30 percent of the population...

  • How Long is a Staph Infection Contagious?

    "Staph" is short for "Staphylococcus" in the context of staph infections. Staphylococcus is a type of bacteria that causes infections, which are...

  • How to Detect MRSA-Infected Wounds

    MRSA is the acronym used for Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus. This kind of staph bacteria can be resistant to some antibiotics known as...

Related Searches

Check It Out

This Is the Beauty Routine of a Yelp Sales Manager

Is DIY in your DNA? Become part of our maker community.
Submit Your Work!