How Contagious Is The MRSA Virus?
MRSA is a contagious infection caused by the resistant strains of Staph aureus. There are two mains sources of infection for MRSA, hospital-acquired infections and community-acquired. Community-acquired infections are in raise and can occur in people living in dormitories, daycare school, jail, etc. There has been a decrease in the hospital-acquired infections, but these infections when occurred are severe. The infection is transmitted through the following mechanisms-
- Direct contact with the infected person or through cuts and abrasions the bacteria find its way onto the skin causing red, swollen skin with pus.
- MRSA-infected person’s clothing, towels or utensils carry the infected microbe along with them, cuts and abrasions act as a passage for the deposition of the skin.
- In the hospital setting, the infection can be transmitted through infected equipment such as urine tubing, catheters, etc. which leaves the MRSA directly into the bloodstream or the body cavity. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), weak and immune-compromised, the patients acquire MRSA infections. Over 80,000 invasive MRSA infections occur every year.
The main criteria for the spread of infection are the cuts and broken skin. If the skin is smooth without any abrasions then the chances of developing infection are less. Hence, pregnant women are unlikely to transfer MRSA to the developing fetus or infants.
There are myths that MRSA gets spread through casual kissing, saliva or sexual contact. The smooth skin does not get affected with such activities, but if there are cuts in the skin then the chances of developing infection are possible. MRSA skin infection will produce initial symptoms in the form of a bump or boil which is red, swollen and full of pus. The area will be warm to touch and painful. It is often accompanied by fever. The infection can turn deep into the skin and can develop into pneumonia. MRSA present in lungs gets transferred through the air by contaminated droplets. People who have died of MRA infection carry the MRSA and can infect the people.
MRSA bacteria might take time to develop symptoms. The incubation period can vary from one to 10 days. A staph bacterium is present in all the human bodies. MRSA can be in the bodies which can act as carriers for the infection but without developing symptoms of its own. As long as viable MRSA bacteria are colonized in the individuals they are contagious and can be spread through direct or indirect contact. The individuals who act as the carrier for the MRSA can be dormant and can remain contagious throughout life. MRSA on the surface of the table, chairs, utensils, etc. can remain viable for up to 6 months if the surface of the infected article is not washed or sterilized.
Simple MRSA skin infection when progress results in fever. Antibiotics which are prescribed to MRSA reduces redness, swelling warmth of the lesion and the fever. The infections bump results in the formation of abscess need surgical intervention to remove us and help heal faster, there will be deep lesions in the body. Hospital-acquired infections develop wound infections, pneumonia, or sepsis. MRSA lesions require diagnosis through culture test of the skin lesion, biopsy or nasal swap. During the culture test, the antibiotics which can be effective in treating MRSA can be detected. The MRSA strains have become resistant to antibiotics hence finding an effective antibiotic is important for the treatment.
Measures should be taken to prevent the spread of infections such as frequently washing hands, take showers, and wash your clothes or uniform. Keep all the cuts and abrasions closed. Do not prick the boils or blisters as it can worsen the wound.
MRSA is a contagious skin infection which can be spread through direct or indirect contact with the infected persons. Direct contact occurs when infected individuals come in contact with healthy individuals and indirect contact through utensils, towels, etc. Measures should be taken to prevent MRSA. The bacteria can reside on non-living surfaces for up to 6 months.