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What is MRSA? (Correctional Staff)

January 2013
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication Number 2013-119
cover of 2013-119

What is MRSA?

  • MRSA is a germ that lives on the skin and in the nose.
  • An untreated MRSA infection can become very serious.

MRSA usually starts as a bump on the skin.

It can be red, full of pus, warm, painful, or swollen, and may look like a spider bite.

If you have a skin sore:

  • Contact a nurse or doctor right away.
  • Don’t touch or pop the sore.
  • Don’t touch the pus or drain it yourself.
  • Cover the sore with a bandage.

How does MRSA spread?

  • MRSA spreads when people touch infected skin, pus, or surfaces where it is present.
  • Surfaces include personal items, such as razors, clothing, towels, and bedsheets.
  • Surfaces include things commonly used by everybody, such as doorknobs and gym equipment.
  • MRSA can spread by tattooing done by inmates.
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  • Page last reviewed: June 6, 2014
  • Page last updated: June 6, 2014 The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
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