MRSA (Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus) infection

MRSA was discovered in 1961 but has been receiving more publicity lately in the news media. MRSA is a type of Staphylococcus aureus (often called “staph”) bacteria resistant to certain antibiotics, making it harder to treat. Staph bacteria are normally found on the skin or in the nose of about one-third of the general population. If you are not sick, but do have MRSA on your skin or in your nose, you are “colonized” but not infected. Healthy people can be colonized with MRSA and have no ill effects, but they can pass the germ to others.

Staph bacteria, including MRSA, can cause skin infections that may look like a pimple or boil and can be red, swollen, painful, or have pus or other drainage. These can quickly turn into deep, painful abscesses that require surgical draining. More serious infections may cause pneumonia, bloodstream infections, or surgical wound infections.

You can take the following good hygiene steps to control MRSA:

  • Keep your hands clean with soap/water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer and properly disinfect commonly used surfaces.
  • Cover skin trauma such as abrasions or cuts with a clean, dry bandage until healed.
  • Avoid contact with other people’s wounds or material that has been in contact with wounds.
  • Don’t share personal items (i.e. towels, razors) that come into contact with bare skin and always use a barrier (clothing or a towel) between your skin and shared equipment such as weight-training benches.
  • Keep your environment clean, especially surfaces that come into direct contact with people’s skin.
  • Get tested. If you have a skin infection that required treatment, ask your doctor if it should be tested for MRSA.

The Campus Facilities Custodial and Special Services team is the MU Campus “first line of defense” against MRSA. Their responsible and routine work on cleaning common space surfaces with disinfectants and germicides are helping to reduce the prevalence of MRSA. Contact CF-Custodial and Special Services @ 882-8211 (Days) for additional information. 

EHS has washable 3”x11” Sized “Dirty Hands Spread Disease – WASH THEM” stickers available that can be posted at bathroom exit door handles, kitchens, laboratories, eating areas, etc. Note: Sticker postings need to be done responsibly with appropriate approvals (Departmental Management, Building Coordinator, Principal Investigator, Laboratory Manager, etc.). Contact EHS @ 882-7018 for additional information.