Main Number: 410-996-5550
Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus
"Handwashing is the single most important means of preventing
the spread of infection."
MRSA is a type of infection caused by Staph bacteria that
is resistant to some common antibiotics such as penicillin.
"Community-associated MRSA" is a form of this infection
recognized in recent years. While most cases of community-
associated MRSA have involved athletes, cases involving
non-athletes have also occurred. Skin infections such as
abscesses and boils are the most common form of this
The infected area usually starts out as a small bump
resembling a pimple, which becomes redder and often develops
Staphylococcus bacteria (or Staph) are commonly carried on
the skin or in the nose of healthy individuals. Staph and MRSA
are spread by close contact either through direct physical
contact with an infected individual or by touching objects
(e.g. towels, sheets, wound dressings, clothes, or sports
equipment) contaminated with the bacteria. In most cases, MRSA
infections are mild and can be treated successfully with
proper hygiene and the appropriate antibiotics. If left
untreated, MRSA can progress to a life-threatening infection
and become difficult to treat because there are fewer
effective antibiotics available at this stage of the illness.
Guidelines to help prevent and control the spread of MRSA
in the community:
More information about Community-associated MRSA is
available on the CDC's website at http://www.cdc.gov/
- Wash hands frequently with soap and water.
- Avoid sharing personal items (e.g., towels, washcloths,
razors, clothing, or uniforms). An individual who becomes
infected should wash all bed linens and clothes in hot water
and laundry detergent frequently until the infection has
- Report any suspicious skin sore or boil to your
healthcare provider (including the school nurse)
- If you participate in sports involving close personal
contact (e.g. wrestling and football), shower with soap
immediately after each practice, game, or match.
- Non-washable gear (i.e. head protectors), should be
wiped down with alcohol after each use.
- Athletic equipment such as wrestling or gymnastics mats
should be wiped down regularly with an antibacterial
- Athletes should receive a total body check prior to any
game, match, or tournament.
- Individuals with an infection involving drainage (i.e.
pus drainage) should be excluded from participation in
sporting events and practices until no pus drainage is
present, the infected site can be adequately covered with a
bandage and clothing, and a physician's release has been
- Any cut or break in the skin should be washed with soap
and water and a clean dressing applied on a daily basis.