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MRSA: Facts and Prevention

MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) is a bacterial infection that resists treatment by commonly-used antibiotics. Usually occurring in hospital or healthcare settings, MRSA has more recently begun to appear in the community as well.

MRSA in Mississippi

MRSA remains an important public health concern. Most cases of invasive MRSA are healthcare-associated. However, studies indicate that the rates of invasive MRSA are falling.

Community-associated MRSA typically shows up as a skin infection. Rates of these infections have risen rapidly over the last 10 years and there is no indication that risk of community-associated MRSA infection is decreasing. Therefore MSDH is working to prevent MRSA by providing the public and healthcare providers with educational and prevention information.

About MRSA

  • MRSA infection is resistant to the most commonly-used antibiotics. Infection can be successfully treated with alternate antibiotics, however.
  • Cases of MRSA are usually mild, involving skin infections such as abscesses or boils.
  • Almost all serious MRSA infections – 85% – are encountered in hospital settings. Serious cases in the community are rare.
  • MRSA is spread by direct contact with contaminated skin or, less often, a contaminated surface. It does not spread through the air.
  • Students being treated for MRSA can attend school safely. They do not present a risk to others.

Preventing MRSA infection

  • Hygiene is the best prevention against MRSA infection.
  • Keep your hands clean by washing thoroughly with soap and water, or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Care for wounds properly. Keep cuts and scrapes clean and covered with a bandage until healed.
  • If you are involved in sports, be especially aware of scrapes or broken skin.
  • Avoid contact with other people's wounds or bandages.
  • Avoid sharing personal items such as towels or razors.
  • Keep surfaces and equipment clean. Disinfect with a solution of 1 part bleach to 9 parts water (1 1/2 cups bleach in 1 gallon of water).
  • If you have a skin infection that is slow to heal, or has spreading redness or swelling, see a doctor.
This page last reviewed on Nov 4, 2014 report errors on this page e-mail email this page print print 
Mississippi State Department of Health 570 East Woodrow Wilson Dr Jackson, MS 39216 866-HLTHY4U web@HealthyMS.com
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