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Methicillin-Resistant Staphyloccus Aureus

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a type of bacteria that is resistant to certain antibiotics. These antibiotics include methicillin and other more common antibiotics such as oxacillin, penicillin and amoxicillin.

MRSA is a common cause of minor skin infections, but can also cause more serious infections such as pneumonia, bloodstream infections and surgical wound infections.

MRSA infections are found in the community (generally, where there are crowds of people), as well as in health care settings.

Colonization means that MRSA is present on or in the body without causing infection or illness. People who are either colonized or infected can spread MRSA to other people. MRSA infection may spread to other areas of the body.

MRSA is treated by the specialists in Lurie Children's Division of Infectious Diseases. Learn more.


MRSA can spread by:
  • Not washing your hands frequently
  • Touching someone with an MRSA infection and not washing your hands
  • Touching anything contaminated with MRSA and not washing your hands

Diagnosis & Treatment

The only way to be certain if you have this infection is to consult with a doctor, who will then determine the best type of treatment.


  • Infected area is often red, swollen, painful to touch and may have pus or other drainage
  • Skin infections may be mistaken for a spider bite


The more serious infections may require hospitalization, especially in people with weakened immune systems.