How Long Is Staph Infection Contagious?

Reviewed on 10/14/2021

What Is a Staph Infection (MRSA)?

Staph infection is contagious, including both methicillin-resistant staph (MRSA) and methicillin-susceptible staph (MSSA). As long as a staph infection is active, it is contagious. Most staph infections can be cured with antibiotics, and infections are no longer contagious about 24 to 48 hours after appropriate antibiotic treatment has started.
Staph infection is contagious, including both methicillin-resistant staph (MRSA) and methicillin-susceptible staph (MSSA). As long as a staph infection is active, it is contagious. Most staph infections can be cured with antibiotics, and infections are no longer contagious about 24 to 48 hours after appropriate antibiotic treatment has started.

Staph infection (Staphylococcus aureus) is an infection caused by a common bacteria found on the skin and inside the nasal cavity. Staph can cause serious infections if it gets into the blood, leading to sepsis or death.

There are two types of staph bacteria that are categorized by how they respond to methicillin, an antibiotic used to treat staph infections:

  • Methicillin-resistant staph (MRSA
  • Methicillin-susceptible staph (MSSA) 

Common types of staph infections include:

Staph infection is contagious, including both methicillin-resistant staph (MRSA) and methicillin-susceptible staph (MSSA).

As long as a staph infection is active, it is contagious. Most staph infections can be cured with antibiotics, and infections are no longer contagious about 24 to 48 hours after appropriate antibiotic treatment has started.

What Are Symptoms of a Staph Infection?

Symptoms of staphylococcal infection depend on the part of the body that is infected. 

Symptoms of staph skin infections, including MRSA, include a bump or infected area on the skin that is:

  • Red
  • Painful
  • Swollen
  • Warm to the touch
  • Full of pus or another drainage
  • Accompanied by a fever

How Do You Get a Staph Infection?

Staph infections are caused by the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus. 

Staph infection can be transmitted by:

  • Touching a person who has staph on their skin
  • Being near a person who has staph when they cough or sneeze
  • Touching a surface such as a table or a doorknob that has the bacteria on it
  • If staph bacteria are on your skin and you cut yourself or have another injury with an open wound, you can get a staph infection

Risk factors for developing staph infections include:

  • Exposure to patients carrying or infected with staph
  • Uncovered and draining wounds, especially in high-contact sports or crowded living
  • Sharing personal items, such as towels or razors
  • Diabetes
  • Intravenous drug abuse
  • Trauma 
  • Recent stays in a healthcare facility
  • Low white blood cells (neutropenia) or neutrophil dysfunction
  • Outpatient surgery and procedures, such as dialysis
  • Hospital stays or surgery (during and shortly after)
  • Foreign bodies, including intravascular catheters and intravenous lines (IVs)
  • Nursing homestays

SLIDESHOW

MRSA Infection: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment See Slideshow

How Is a Staph Infection Diagnosed?

Staph infection is diagnosed with a physical exam and patient history, and tests such as: 

How Is a Staph Infection (MRSA) Treated?

Staph infection is treated with antibiotics. The antibiotic used depends on whether the staph infection is methicillin-resistant staph (MRSA) or methicillin-susceptible staph (MSSA). 

Antibiotics used to treat staph infection include: 

In some cases, surgery may be needed to treat staph infection:

  • Drainage or debridement of abscesses 
  • Removal of a prosthesis for infections involving a prosthetic joint 

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Reviewed on 10/14/2021
References
https://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/staph/index.html

https://www.cdc.gov/mrsa/index.html

https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/228816-overview