Intake Screening: MRSA Skin Examination


The appearance of MRSA skin infections is varied. Skin infections present as: 

  • Superficial MRSA skin infections: These include pimples, boils, and impetigo.
    • Impetigo is a superficial skin infection that often has a crusty and/or blistered appearance.
    • If left untreated, superficial infections have potential to progress into serious/invasive infections.
  • Deep MRSA skin infections: These include abscesses and cellulitis. Both of these present as painful, red, swollen areas of skin.


Early Detection – Limits the Spread of MRSA

A medical professional should evaluate all skin infections because:

  • Early detection and treatment of MRSA skin infections limits the spread of MRSA throughout a facility. 
  • Early detection and treatment of MRSA skin infections will minimize the need for more invasive treatment, i.e. surgery and/or hospitalization. 
    • Antibiotics are more effective at the onset of the infection, before the infection is allowed to progress. 
    • If treatment is delayed, infections can progress into serious or life-threatening infections. 


MRSA Skin Surveillance – Who Is At Risk?

Inmates and staff need to be educated on reporting all skin infections, and high-risk populations should be monitored closely.  High-risk populations include:

  • Inmates recently discharged from the hospital.
  • Patients with chronically open wounds.
  • Patients with an indwelling catheter or other indwelling medical device.
  • Patients with a depressed immune system, including:
    • Patients with certain types of cancer, or those receiving chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
    • Patients taking prednisone or other steroid therapy.
    • Patients with HIV or AIDS.
    • Diabetic patients.
  • Inmates with itchy rashes. Scratching increases the risk for broken skin, thereby allowing entrance for MRSA bacteria.