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How Contagious Is MRSA In The Nose?

How Contagious Is MRSA In The Nose?

MRSA in the nose is a very contagious disease, prevention and treatment strategies should be carried out to reduce or stop the transmission. You can be a carrier of the MRSA infection, that means you are carrying the MRSA bacterium in the nose or skin but you are not infected. However, you can spread the infection to another person. It is said that 2% of the world’s population are MRSA nose carriers.(1)

It is estimated that there about 126,000 admission each year in the U.S and 19,000 deaths per year due to MRSA infection. Most of these infections are due to HA-MRSA (86%) and only a small percentage due to CA-MRSA (14%).

In this article, we will give some data from researches done on the MRSA prevalence among health care workers (HCW) and in the community. This will help you to understand how much contagious MRSA can be.(2)

How Contagious Is MRSA In The Nose?

Healthcare Workers

A study done on the “MRSA carriage among HCW’s in non-outbreak settings in Europe and the United States” 31 studies were included in this systemic review by MEDLINE and EMBASE databases from January 2000 to December 2013. The pooled prevalence rates were calculated (“the pooled prevalence is calculated by dividing the number of MRSA colonized subjects by the total number of subjects for whom culture resulted were reported”). From all studies, 8,094 subjects were included in this review and 388 HCW’s were positive as MRSA carriers. The MRSA pooled colonization rate was 4.4%. The nursing staff had the highest rate among the healthcare workers which was 6.9% which means MRSA colonization in nursing staff is 2.58 times higher compared to the other HCW’s. MRSA colonization is high in healthcare providers working in emergency departments. MRSA prevalence in Europe HCWs was 1.5% and in the United States, it was 6.6%, so, it is about 3 times higher in the US.(3)

Another study done in Oman about the prevalence of MRSA colonization or carriage among HCW’s in Oman showed out of the 311 participants 47 of them (15.1%) had nasal colonization with HA-MRSA. 28 participants had HA-MRSA isolated from their cell phones and 5 participants had both nasal colonization and organism present on their cell phone.


According to studies, 2% of the population are carriers of MRSA bacterium in the nose. Most people will not have any symptom but they can spread the disease to the other family members, pets and to people in the community.(4)

CA-MRSA is high among people with the following risk factors

  • Sharing personal items such as toothbrushes, towels, combs
  • Doing contact sports, attending gym classes and using locker rooms
  • Frequent antibiotic use
  • IV drug abuse and getting tattoos from unlicensed places

A study was done in the Netherlands in 2003 and 2004 (2-year period) to check the transmission of CA-MRSA between the family members. There were 10 MRSA familial transmissions found during this period. 7 families reported skin infections and in 6 families there was a link with a foreign country. Transmission occurred at least in two family members and in families with six family members the transmission was seen in four family members. The characteristics of the MRSA organism isolated from each family member was similar which indicated that the transmission occurred within the family. 7 families had transmission from the parent to child. In 2 of the cases, 2 siblings were affected along with the parent. In one family with 10 members, 3 siblings were affected.


MRSA is a very contagious disease that spread throughout healthcare facilities and in the community rapidly in the recent past years. According to studies, the nursing staff had the highest rate of colonization among healthcare workers. Most of the healthcare workers working in the emergency departments had nasal colonies with MRSA infection. In the community, 2% of people are MRSA carriers and they spread the disease to the other family members and to other people in the community. Therefore, screening methods to identify MRSA colonized people in the health care setting and in the community is important, so, that treatment can be offered to them. The prevention strategies to minimize MRSA infection should be practiced in health care facilities and in the community.


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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:February 17, 2020

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