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Thurston County, Washington

Public Health and Social Services

What is MRSA?

Staphlococcus aureus (Staph) is a type of bacteria that may cause skin infections like boils or pimples. Staph is often found on our hands, and in our nose as well as other areas of the body. Infections of the skin caused by Staph are often red, swollen, and tender and may have some drainage. Most of the time a Staph causes an infection that is minor or doesn’t cause any problem. Some Staphs are resistant to the antibiotic methicillin and related antibiotics and are called MRSA or Methicillin-resistant Staphlococcus aureus.

Skin infections like MRSA can be spread through close skin-to-skin contact, wounds of the skin like cuts and abrasions, contaminated items and surfaces, crowded living conditions and poor hygiene.


  • Follow good personal hygiene practices. Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Take showers regularly.
  • Do not share personal items such as towels, razors, or personal clothing.
  • Cover cuts, sores and scrapes with a bandage until healed.
  • Avoid contact with other people’s cuts, sores or bandages.
  • Use a barrier (e.g., clothing or a towel) between your skin and shared surfaces like gym equipment, locker room benches
  • Wipe surfaces in frequent contact with hands or bare skin with a disinfectant before and after use.

If you have an infection that will not heal or gets worse contact your health care provider.

Additional Resources

Infections and Schools and Child Cares, (Center of Disease Control and Prevention) 

 Infections and the Workplace  (Information provided by Dr. Yu)

Infections for Employees Information provided by Dr. Yu)

MRSA (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

MRSA (Washington State Department of Health)