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Infectious Diseases

MRSA Carrier

10/01/2004

Question:

I have been diagnosed woth MRSA and may be a carrier, if I am a carrier what would cause MRSA to flare up again, this is my third bout with the infection.

Answer:

Staphylococcus aureus is bacterium that is frequently found on normal skin and mucus membranes.  The most common areas are in the nose and on the skin of the genital and anal area. Most humans "carry" it sometimes, and some humans "carry" it most of the time.  Most "carriers" do not become ill from it, but sometimes Staph aureus can cause mild infections, such as pimples and boils, and sometimes it causes serious infections.  There are many reasons that Staph can cause infection, and a detailed discussion of them is beyond the scope of this center.  MRSA stands for "Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus", which describes part of the antibiotic resistance of the organism.  There is no difference between MRSA and MSSA (sensitive) in their ability to cause infection.

The most important thing that can be done to prevent infection is to wash hands with soap and water, or to use one of the many alcohol based hand disinfectants on the market.  Hands should be washed or disinfected whenever the nose has been touched, and after using the bathroom.

It sounds like you're asking for a specific diagnosis, which is more than I can provide online. Only a detailed history and physical exam by a healthcare professional can provide enough information to make a specific diagnosis. Please discuss your concerns with your healthcare provider.

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Response by:

Peter T Frame, MD Peter T Frame, MD
Emeritus Professor of Clinical Medicine
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati