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MRSA is a bacterium that is resistant to treatment with methicillin and a large number of other commonly used antibiotics. Staphylococcus aureus (staph-aureus) is a bacterium ubiquitous in the community and hospital environments. Staph-aureus causes infections such as abscesses and skin infections; it is commonly responsible for wound infections and their complications in the hospital setting. 


There are two types of MRSA infections:

  • Healthcare-associated MRSA (HA-MRSA) infections happen in people:

    • Who are or have recently been in a hospital or other health-care facility (nursing homes, dialysis centers, long term acute care centers)

    • Have recently had surgery or other procedures

  • Community-associated MRSA (CA-MRSA) infections happen in :

    • Otherwise healthy people, who have not recently been in the hospital

    • In athletes who play contact sports and/or share equipment or personal items (such as towels or razors)

    • Children and workers in daycare facilities

    • Military personnel and other people who live in other crowded and/or unsanitary conditions (military barracks, dormitories, correctional facilities)


People with weaker immune systems tend to have more serious infections. The number of CA-MRSA cases are increasing. Fire Fighters are at risk of being exposed to both types of MRSA.

Mode of Transmission: Direct contact


Examples of Transmission:

  • When your skin comes in “contact with someone’s (MRSA) skin infection or personal items they have used, like towels, bandages, or razors that touched their infected skin”

  • Through openings in the skin such as cuts or abrasions (These opening can be visible or so small that they aren’t visible to the naked eye)

  • By coming into contact with items and surfaces contaminated with MRSA

  • By living or working in crowded situations, where there is close contact with others

  • When you or others around you have poor hygiene


Signs and Symptoms:  

These infections usually start off as small red, white and/or yellow bumps that look like pimples, boils or spider bites.

  • These bumps can be red, swollen, warm to the touch, painful and can have pus or other body fluids draining from them.

  • These skin infections commonly occur where there as breaks in the skin (cuts and abrasions) and body areas with hair (e.g., back of neck, groin, buttock, armpit, beard area of men).

  • These bumps can quickly turn into deep, painful abscesses that require drainage by a medical professional.



Severe infections can occur if this infection is not treated properly and/or if your immune system is not working properly. In these situations, the MRSA skin infection can get worse and can spread to the rest of the body (including the blood, bones, lungs and other organs).

Health care workers may become colonized with MRSA bacteria; capable of transmitting the disease but remaining asymptomatic themselves. The colonized health care worker may then transmit the bacteria to susceptible patients with serious illness or injuries. MRSA infection can cause difficulty in wound healing, and septicemia and pneumonia in at-risk individuals. Due to the bacteria’s antibiotic resistance the infections are very hard to treat. Of particular concern is the possibility that MRSA may come into contact with other bacteria, such as vancomycin resistant enterococci (VRE) and develop further resistance to one of the only antibiotics that can actually treat it. This makes identification and control of MRSA infection critical in the health care setting. VRE represents a different, but parallel, challenge for the health care community.


General Post Exposure Treatment The exposed should see a doctor if they:

  • Start developing worsening symptoms of skin infections (described above in the What are the symptoms? section)

  • If they develop fever or feel unwell with this skin infection

The doctor may:

  • Get a culture of some of the pus/drainage from your infection

  • Perform nasal swabs

  • Offer abscess drainage and/or specialized antibiotics for MRSA infections


Paperwork Required:

  1. The City “Report of Employee Injury” form

  2. Medical Service Order- RM -67 (when medical care is required)

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