MRSA information

MRSA is now reportable in previously healthy persons. Please utilize a Confidential Morbidity Report (PDF) to report cases to the Public Health Department.

About MRSA

Staphylococcus aureus, or "staph," are bacteria commonly carried on the skin or in the nose of healthy people. It is estimated that 25% to 30% of the population is colonized (when bacteria are present, but not causing an infection) in the nose with staph bacteria. Staph bacteria are one of the most common causes of skin infections in the United States, and most of these skin infections are minor (such as pimples and boils) and can be treated without antibiotics. However, some staph bacteria are known to become resistant to antibiotics. One particular strain of antibiotic resistant staph is known as methicillin-resistant staph, or MRSA.

MRSA can live on the skin or in the nose of a person and not cause disease. When it does cause disease, MRSA can still be treated with other antibiotics. MRSA infections occur most frequently among persons in healthcare settings, however, according to the CDC, up to 12% of staph infections can be community acquired. Risk factors for community acquired MRSA (CA-MRSA) include: close skin-to-skin contact, openings in the skin such as cuts or abrasions, contaminated items and surfaces, crowded living conditions, and poor hygiene.

CA-MRSA infection can be prevented by practicing good hygiene as follows:

  1. Keep your hands clean by washing thoroughly with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  2. Keep cuts and scrapes clean and covered with a bandage until healed.
  3. Avoid contact with other people’s wounds or bandages.
  4. Avoid sharing personal items such as towels or razors.

MRSA infection may look like a pimple or boil and can be red, swollen, painful, or have pus or other drainage. If you have a skin or other infection you believe may be MRSA, see your healthcare provider.

California Department of Public Health MRSA Information:

MRSA information for schools (AdobePDF 100k)

Guide for Parents on MRSA (AdobePDF 751k)

Guia para padres sobre el SARM  (AdobePDF 766k)


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Campaign to Fight MRSA

CDC Campaign Press Release (PDF 36K)


Other Resources: CDC information on MRSA - Community Acquired MRSA FAQs from the CDC - Comprehensive list of MRSA resources on LA County MRSA website

Penny Borenstein, MD, MPH

Health Officer/Public Health Director


M-F, 8:00 AM-5:00 PM

(805) 781-5500

Online Contact Form

After hours public health emergency or urgent communicable disease (805) 781-4553

24-Hour Information Line -Recorded Messages- (805) 788-2903

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