Calvert County Health Department

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(Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus)

Staphylococcus aureus, often referred to as “staph,” are bacteria commonly carried on the skin or in the nose of healthy people. Approximately 25% to 30% of the population is colonized (when bacteria are present, but not causing an infection) in the nose with staph bacteria. Sometimes, staph can cause an infection and are the most common cause of skin infections in the U.S. Most of these infections are minor (such as pimples or boils) and can be treated without antibiotics. Some staph bacteria have become resistant to certain antibiotics and MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) is one.

In the past, infections with MRSA were found primarily in patients in hospitals. However, within the last few years MRSA infections have been increasing among the general public, particularly in groups that are in close proximity to each other, such as prison populations, the military and athletic teams. Persons who are involved in activities that bring them in close proximity to others and/or give them skin abrasions should keep in mind that if they develop a skin infection, MRSA might be the cause. The important thing to remember is that if an infection is not healing properly consult with your physician.

Routine Infection Control Procedures

  • Practice good hygiene, e.g., wash hands with soap and water (or use a hand sanitizer), discard used bandages into the trash
  • Do not share personal items, e.g., towels, soap
  • Wash any contaminated clothing after each use with a detergent/sanitizer, e.g. Lysol concentrate
  • Do not commingle or jumble contaminated items
  • Contact your primary care physician to determine if antibiotics are necessary and what should be done to eliminate the infection


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