Community Associated Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus
What is CA-MRSA?
Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus, (MRSA) is
a type of bacteria that is resistant to treatment with
antibiotics related to penicillin.
forms of this bacterium were first found in infections
related to hospitals where antibiotics are widely
used. However, there are now strains that are spread
from person to person in the community, hence the
name community-associated MRSA.
What do CA-MRSA infections look like?
CA-MRSA infections are often first identified as:
Infected cuts or
The bacteria that cause MRSA also can enter
the blood and infect other organs, such as the lungs
Who gets CA-MRSA?
Anyone can get CA-MRSA. It is more likely to
spread in group settings where people have repeated
close contact with one another such as:
Child care facilities
How do CA-MRSA infections spread?
CA-MRSA is usually spread by direct physical
contact with infected people or people who carry the
bacteria but show no signs of infection.
Spread may also occur through indirect contact by
touching objects contaminated by the infected skin of a
person with a CA-MRSA infection, such as:
How is CA-MRSA diagnosed?
A sample of the fluid from the infected wound is
collected to grow the bacteria in the laboratory. Once the bacteria are growing, they are tested to
determine which antibiotics (if any) will be effective
for treating the infection.
How common is CA-MRSA?
Staphylococcus aureus bacteria are a frequent cause of
skin infections in the United States, but the exact
number is unknown. Based on an ongoing study of
laboratory results in Clark County, more than half of
Staphylococcus aureus infections are resistant to one or
What should I do if I think I have a CA-MRSA
See your health care provider.
If a member of my family is diagnosed with a
CA-MRSA skin infection, what can I do to help
prevent others from getting infected?
Do not "pop" boils or pimples.
Pus from infected
wounds frequently contains bacteria that may
spread to others.
Avoid touching the infected area unnecessarily.
Keep skin infections, particularly those draining
pus or fluid, covered with clean, dry bandages.
The infected person and all contacts should wash
hands frequently with soap and warm water and
use paper towels to dry.
Follow hand washing
with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when
Detailed hand washing instructions are
on the Hand Washing webpage.
Anyone changing the bandages of the infected
person should wash their hands before and after
changing the dressing and wear disposable
plastic or latex gloves if possible.
place used bandages and gloves in a plastic bag
to prevent contaminating household surfaces.
Close the bag tightly and place in the trash.
Avoid sharing personal items (e.g. towels,
washcloths, razors, clothing or uniforms).
If the infection is on the hands, the infected
person should not prepare food, or touch others
unless waterproof gloves are worn.
Linens and clothing of the infected person must
be washed separately from other laundry with
hot water and laundry detergent.
bleach for white linens and clothing.
clothes in a hot dryer, rather than air drying, helps kill bacteria in clothes.
Dry cleaning will
also kill the bacteria.
Wash toys and other objects with detergent and
disinfect with a diluted bleach solution made by
mixing one tablespoon bleach with 4 cups (32
A new batch of bleach solution must
be mixed daily.
When can my child return to child care if diagnosed with CA-MRSA?