Diagnosis

Doctors diagnose MRSA by checking a tissue sample or nasal secretions for signs of drug-resistant bacteria. The sample is sent to a lab where it's placed in a dish of nutrients that encourage bacterial growth.

But because it takes about 48 hours for the bacteria to grow, newer tests that can detect staph DNA in a matter of hours are now becoming more widely available.

Treatment

Both health care-associated and community-associated strains of MRSA still respond to certain antibiotics.

Doctors may need to perform emergency surgery to drain large boils (abscesses), in addition to giving antibiotics.

In some cases, antibiotics may not be necessary. For example, doctors may drain a small, shallow boil (abscess) caused by MRSA rather than treat the infection with drugs.

Preparing for your appointment

While you may initially consult your family doctor, he or she may refer you to a specialist, depending on which of your organs is affected by the infection. For example, he or she may refer you to a doctor trained in skin conditions (dermatologist) or a doctor trained in heart conditions (cardiologist).

What you can do

Before your appointment, you might want to write a list that includes:

  • Detailed descriptions of your symptoms
  • Information about medical problems you've had
  • Information about the medical problems of your parents or siblings
  • All the medications and dietary supplements you take
  • Questions you want to ask the doctor

What to expect from your doctor

During your physical exam, your doctor will closely examine any skin cuts you may have. He or she might take a sample of tissue or liquid from the cuts for testing.

Dec. 01, 2020
  1. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/mrsa/community/index.html. Accessed Nov. 2, 2020.
  2. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in adults: Epidemiology. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed Nov. 2, 2020.
  3. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in adults: Treatment. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed Nov. 2, 2020.
  4. AskMayoExpert. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Mayo Clinic; 2020.
  5. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus infections (MRSA and MRSE). Elsevier Point of Care. Elsevier; 2020. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Nov. 2, 2020.
  6. Ferri FF. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). In: Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2021. Elsevier; 2021. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Nov. 2, 2020.
  7. Harris A. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in adults: Prevention and control. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed Nov. 2, 2020.

Related

News from Mayo Clinic

Products & Services