Can You Kiss Someone With MRSA?
Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is one of the contagious, serious and fatal infections. MRSA is spread from an infected person’s hands, nasal droplets and skin contact, by touching an infected surface or equipment, through skin cuts and open wounds, staying in overcrowded places, and by inadequate personal hygiene. MRSA is spread by direct contact with the infected person, it can be skin contact or by nasal droplets. But another person will not get infected unless they have a skin breach or immunocompromised. Saliva does not contain the organism in large amounts therefore, the spread of infection through kissing, saliva exchange and sexual contact are very minimum. Also, for the infection to occur there should be an open wound in the lips or in the oral cavity. The infections do not spread through contact with healthy skin.
Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is one of the serious and fatal infections. The MRSA infection can be divided into hospital-associated MRSA (HA-MRSA) and community-associated MRSA (CA-MRSA) according to the place the MRSA infection is acquired. Before answering the question if kissing can transmit the disease let us see how MRSA infection is transmitted.
Risk Factors For MRSA
People who are at increased risk of getting HA-MRSA are
- Immunocompromised people – on immune suppression drugs, older aged people
- Patients with burn injuries
- Patients with open wounds (surgical or non-surgical)
- With severe skin conditions
- Patients after surgery
- With a urine catheter or feeding tube or receiving dialysis
- Patients who are given frequent, multiple antibiotics
- Patients who have been in the hospital for a long time
- People who at increased risk of getting CA-MRSA are
- Overcrowding – living in jails, military bases, university hostels and in slums
- People doing contact sports
- IV drug abusers
- Lacks personal hygiene
- People on continuous antibiotics
Transmission Of MRSA
From An Infected Person’s Hands, Nasal Droplets And Skin Contact. MRSA is a very contagious disease; however, it is a commensal organism that lives in our skin, throat, and nose without causing any problem. It’s estimated that about 2% of the population are carriers of MRSA colonies. The infection occurs when the MRSA enters the blood or an organ.
MRSA is spread by direct contact with the infected person, it can be skin contact or by nasal droplets. But another person will not get infected unless they have a skin breach or if they have one or more of the above-mentioned risk factors. A healthy person will not get the infection but can become a carrier and this carrier status can be only for a short period of time if the immune system gets rid of it if not that person can spread the disease to other people. Saliva does not contain the organism in large amounts therefore kissing, saliva exchange and sexual contact will not spread the disease as much as the transmission modes mentioned above.
By Touching An Infected Surface Or Equipment. MRSA can remain in clothes and other fabrics, door handles, sinks, on the floor, and in other surfaces for few days to weeks. The MRSA will come into contact with these surfaces through the skin. MRSA can be present in the infected person’s brush, towel, mug, and plate. Sharing these can make someone else at risk too of getting an infection through an open cut injury or skin breach. In healthcare facilities, MRSA can remain in medical equipment, bed linens, curtains and in other surfaces therefore, disinfection and proper infection control are essential to reduce the transmission.
- Through skin cuts and open wounds
- MRSA enters the body through a skin cut or open wound, if not MRSA in the skin cannot infect a healthy person.
- Staying in overcrowded places
- Inadequate personal hygiene
So, as you see saliva does not contain the organism much therefore, the spread of MRSA infection through kissing is very minimum. Also, for the infection to occur there should be an open wound in the lips or in the oral cavity. The infections don’t spread through contact with healthy skin.