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Seasonal Flu and Staph Infection

Questions & Answers

Staphylococcus aureus, often referred to simply as “staph,” are bacteria healthy people can carry on the skin or in the nose. Staph bacteria commonly cause skin infections, such as boils. Most of these infections are not life-threatening.

In addition to skin infections, staph bacteria can cause infections in the blood, in the bones and in the lungs (pneumonia). Most serious staph bacteria infections are treated with an antibiotic related to penicillin. However, over the past 50 years, some staph bacteria have become resistant to antibiotics, including the commonly used penicillin-related antibiotics. These resistant bacteria are called methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA.

If I have had a methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection or been told that I carry MRSA, am I at high risk for developing a serious MRSA infection if I get seasonal influenza?

The overall risk of developing an MRSA infection after influenza appears to be very low. However, CDC continues to work with state and local public health authorities to better understand this association.

What is being done about MRSA infections associated with influenza?

CDC is working with state and local public health authorities to monitor and investigate infections with MRSA, including pneumonias and other types of MRSA infections that occur in patients with influenza. CDC also acts as a technical advisor to state and local health departments and various professional organizations that are working to control MRSA.

How can I learn about preventing and treating MRSA skin infections?

In 2008, CDC launched the National MRSA Education Initiative to provide information on recognition, prevention, and treatment of these infections. Visit the CDC MRSA web site for more information about this initiative.

 

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