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How is MRSA infection diagnosed?

Answered by
Dr. Monika Dede

Infectious Diseases Specialist

Practicing since :2003

Answered : 793 Questions

Posted on Tue, 11 Apr 2017 in Infections
Question: How do you get tested to see if you are a MRSA carrier? Are tests for being a carrier accurate? Is this treatable and how reliable is the treatment? Should someone with bad skin (acne or psoriasis) avoid kissing or sexual contact with a MRSA carrier? Do all people that have had a MRSA infection in the past become carriers of the bacteria?
Answered by Dr. Monika Dede 51 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Hello XXXX! Ι have been through your question.

Detailed Answer:
Related your concern you should know that exist some of MRSA screening tests that include:
- Bacterial culture - nasal swab is collected from the nostrils of an asymptomatic person and cultured (put onto a special nutrient medium).
However a swab may be collected from a wound site or skin lesion of a person who has been previously treated for a MRSA infection and cultured similarly.
A screening culture identifies the absence or presence of MRSA and usually takes 1 to 2 days for a result.
-Molecular tests for MRSA screening can detect nasal or wound carriage within hours, allowing for prompt treatment as necessary.
Molecular MRSA screening is becoming more widespread.
MRSA is very contagious under certain circumstances (when skin alterations or damage are present as you have),spread occurs through person-to-person contact with a skin infection or even indirect contact, such as contact with a MRSA-infected person's clothing or towels or even from benches in gyms.
However, many activities such as kissing, saliva exchange, and sexual contact, although somewhat less likely to transfer MRSA to another, can cause infection if the skin or mucosa is damaged,as you have. Most MRSA skin infections first appear as a reddish bump that quickly becomes swollen, painful, and warm and contains or drains pus; they can occur almost anywhere on the body.
You should know that people who are colonized with MRSA far less likely to transmit the organisms to others,but transmission is more likely if the patient is infected with MRSA.
Many people with active infections are treated effectively, and no longer have MRSA.
Sometimes MRSA goes away after treatment and comes back several times.

Related the treatment, you should know that MRSA is resistant to many antibiotics so it can be difficult to treat. However, there are antibiotics that can treat MRSA and make the infection go away (vankomicini, rifampicini, ceftarolne, ceftabiprol ect).
I hope my answer helps you.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Prasad
Follow up: Dr. Monika Dede 2 hours later
Thank you so much for this useful information. The person in question is a man that acquired MRSA from wresting and this occurred 5 years ago. I do not believe he has had recurrent infections after treatment. He has agreed to be tested to see if he is a carrier of MRSA. Are these tests (nasal swabs) usually quite accurate? Should he be tested in other areas, such as armpits/groin, etc to be sure? Even if the test comes back negative for MRSA, is there still a chance he is a carrier? And if it comes back positive, do decolonization treatments actually work or does the MRSA tend to come back anyways?
Answered by Dr. Monika Dede 4 hours later
Brief Answer:
Hello again! Thanks writing me back.

Detailed Answer:
Related your recent concerns and based on these data, you should know that these tests (nasal swabs) usually are very accurate if the person has not symptoms, and could test in the other areas if there exist any open wound.
If the test is negative, it means that you are not “colonized”(carrier) with MRSA.
If the test is positive, it means that at the moment your nose was swabbed, MRSA was present and you are considered “colonized” with MRSA, or a carrier.
If you are only colonized (carrier), you are not sick and no treatment is necessary!
Many people with active infections are treated effectively, and no longer have MRSA. Sometimes MRSA goes away after treatment and comes back several times.

I hope my answer helps you.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Prasad
Follow up: Dr. Monika Dede 3 hours later
Thank you for the helpful information! So if the man has a negative MRSA test, would you say that it would be safe for me (even with my current skin problems) to start dating or form an intimate relationship with him? But if he is positive, he doesn't need treatment, but I probably should not form a relationship with him either, because it is likely I could still catch MRSA from him due to my poor skin?
Answered by Dr. Monika Dede 6 hours later
Brief Answer:
hello again. thank you writing back.

Detailed Answer:
I am sorry for my late response.
Yes, if the man has a negative MRSA test, this means that not exist any potential risk and it is safe for you and you can start dating with him and to have intimate relationship.
You should know that people who are colonized with MRSA (have positive test) far less likely to transmit the organisms to others,but transmission is more likely if the patient is infected with MRSA.
In most cases, being colonized with MRSA( test positive) doesn't make you sick and no treatment is necessary.
But, being successfully treated for MRSA colonization(have negative test) does not prevent the person from getting it again.
Anyone can get MRSA. You can get MRSA by touching and someone else that you don't have close relationships, or something that has the bacteria on it (as I mentioned above) and then touching your eyes or your nose and your skin.
Washing your hands often reduces your chances of getting MRSA.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Remy Koshy

The User accepted the expert's answer

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