MRSA transmission


MRSA is most commonly passed on in hospitals by hand transmission

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a bacterium belonging to the staphylococcal group. Outwardly, it does not differ from the other bacteria of this type, but it is insensitive (resistance) to many antibiotics and therefore requires special treatment. Not all people who host these bacteria will experience symptoms. However, the healthy carriers can still transmit the bacterium.

Human-to-human transmission

Most often will MRSA in the hospital or in other care facilities, such as in retirement homes, passed through person-to-person transmission.

You can find more information on the topic here: multi-resistant hospital germs

Most of the time this is done over the hands. This is the case when the nursing staff does not sufficiently disinfect their hands between contact with different patients, so that the bacterium is transmitted. But also the patients among themselves or the visitors can spread the bacteria further.

But MRSA can also from the hands to other parts of the body of the patient or another patient. For example, the bacteria can reside in the nose and by contacting the hands with the nose, the patient can transfer the bacteria into a wound, resulting in a infection can lead.

Transmission through contaminated objects

MRSA can not only spread through people, but also through objects contaminated with bacteria. These include, for example, doorknobs, handles or towels. MRSA can also be transmitted through medical devices, breathing tubes, or catheters if not properly cleaned.


As a rule, the bacteria are not transmitted through the breath, but this can occur in exceptional cases if the patient's immune system is severely weakened.

Animal on human

The transmission of MRSA from animals to humans is possible. Likewise, the transfer the other way around than from humans to animals. This applies to both farm animals and domestic animals. In addition, MRSA spreads this way too indirectly, for example from the farmers or veterinarians who are infected by the animals, to their family members.


For a healthy baby, colonization with MRSA does not usually pose a health risk. Only if the baby is one weakened immune system or one open wound has it can become a infection come. If any of the risk factors are present, care should be taken to keep the baby away from MRSA carriers and to cover the wound thoroughly.


MRSA is transmitted through direct body contact, in principle also through kissing. Since MRSA colonization usually has no effects in healthy people, there is no high risk of infection if you kiss an MRSA carrier. In most cases, the partner is only temporarily colonized by the bacteria, if they are not already symptom-free. With open wounds in the or on the mouth, however, caution is advised as the bacteria can enter the body here and cause an infection.

incubation period

The incubation period, i.e. the time between the colonization of a person with bacteria and the onset of symptoms, can be very different. Many people are colonized by MRSA, but have none bacterial infection on. This occurs often only on, when the immune system is weakened. This can be the case even after a few months or even years. After an infection, i.e. the penetration of the bacteria into the body, it takes about time 4 to 10 daysuntil symptoms appear.


An expectant mother usually has MRSA colonization no effect on the baby during pregnancy. There was no connection between the MRSA colonization of the mother and the miscarriage rate.

During breastfeeding a MRSA-colonized mother should be careful not to clean hands thoroughly before breastfeeding and strictly on the pumping apparatus Pay attention to hygiene.

Risk of contagion

Patients with MRSA infection are contagious as long as the bacteria can be detected. The risk of infection is particularly high if symptoms of the infection are already occurring. However, carriers of the bacteria who do not show any symptoms can also transmit MRSA to other people.

People with a weakened immune system are particularly susceptible to infection with MRSA. But the risk is also increased in chronically ill people, for example in Dialysis requirement. Diabetics and people with catheters are also very susceptible to MRSA infection, as are people with an open wound, which is easy access for the bacteria to enter the body. Advanced age represents an additional risk of infection.

In healthy people who have MRSA on their skin, the risk of infection is very low.


Preventing an MRSA infection or colonization is particularly important when you are staying or visiting a hospital, as this is the main source of infection. Especially on that Hand hygiene should be very careful and hands should disinfected before and after the visit become.

But you can also try to protect yourself against infection in everyday life by washing your hands thoroughly with soap and water and using your own towels and washcloths. When a wound occurs should this with clean bandages or plastering against infections and colonization with bacteria protected become. It also prevents any transmission to other people. Thorough hand washing before and after changing the dressing should be observed. Close contact with people with open wounds should be avoided if possible. In the hospital, doctors and nursing staff should be informed about possible contact with MRSA-infected people so that appropriate protective measures can be initiated under certain circumstances.