It is common to have the bacteria present on the skin, but often the person’s immune system will fight off an infection. Good hygiene will keep the bacteria from growing and covering breaks in the skin will prevent the bacteria from entering the body and growing.
A medical professional can do tests to determine if someone is a MRSA carrier or not. Colonization (bacteria is present, but there are not any symptoms) commonly occurs in the nose.
Sometimes when a person gets MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), they have no idea how they acquired the infection and others can remember when they were exposed to the bacteria. The reason that some people don’t know when they were exposed to the bacteria is because they came in contact with the bacteria from someone who doesn’t have any symptoms but is still carrying and spreading it.
Identifying, isolating, and treating people who have MRSA colonization (carriers) prevents the spread of the bacteria in both hospital settings (HA-MRSA) and community settings (CA-MRSA).
MRSA Spread Person To Person
Testing a person for MRSA colonization will identify carriers. A person who carries the bacteria spreads it by touching their nose or other area that the bacteria are present, and then touching a shared surface or another person. Among groups that live or socialize in close proximity or facilities with high populations, the bacteria are more likely to spread from person to person (Is It Safe To Have Sex With Someone With MRSA?). At risk facilities and populations include the following:
- Day care centers
- Detention facilities
- Drug users
- Contact sport participants
- People connected with the sex industry
- Military personnel
- Group homes
It can also spread from animals to humans. It is more common to spread from livestock that is administered antibiotics routinely and domesticated animals, than other types of animals. One way that MRSA is tested for is by swabbing the nostrils because it is the most common area that the bacteria will colonize.
Testing For Colonization
Swabbing areas that MRSA bacteria can colonize is how a carrier is identified. The nose is the most common area that it can be found, but it is also found colonized in the groin, armpits, folds of skin, the throat, and the intestines. Hospitals have been able to reduce the number of MRSA cases by testing for the bacteria upon administration. For those who test positive, they are isolated and the medical staff takes precautions to prevent the spread of the bacteria from the carrier to the vulnerable patients in the hospital. The carrier will also receive treatment.
MRSA Treating For Carriers
When a MRSA carrier is identified, the colonization is treated. Nasal sprays and creams are often used to treat the bacteria. Caution needs to be exercised so that antibiotics are prescribed properly. DNA testing may be done to determine the specific strain of the bacteria to assure the most effective treatment.
Some people are MRSA carriers and are never identified until their immune system weakens and they become infected. Testing may also be done if there are several cases connected with a specific person.