Why Do MRSA Infections Recur?


  • Recurrences or new infections may occur soon after the original infection, or months to years later. 
  • Recurrent infections may occur in the original patient, a family member, or other persons in close contact with the patient.
  • Some families experience multiple recurrences.  

Reasons for MRSA Recurrences

  • The infection did not completely resolve, or returned soon after treatment. This may indicate antibiotic resistance. A new antibiotic may be indicated, or the original antibiotic may need to be prescribed for a longer period of time and/or in a higher dose.
  • The MRSA bacteria developed new antibiotic resistance. Antibiotic resistance that develops quickly is called inducible resistance. This means the antibiotic initially works, but the MRSA strain quickly develops resistance. The MRSA strain had an underlying ability to form resistance to the antibiotic, and exposure to the antibiotic simply “induced” the resistance. 
  • The individual is a MRSA carrier, and re-infects him or herself. A MRSA carrieris someone who is harboring MRSA bacteria. Note: Individuals can harbor MRSA for years!
  • The individual was re-exposed to MRSA via someone with an active MRSA infection, or someone colonized with MRSA bacteria.
  • The individual was re-exposed to MRSA via an infected pet.
  • The individual was re-exposed to MRSA via a contaminated object.