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Dr. Arun Phophalia
Dr. Arun Phophalia, Doctor (MD)
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 35793
Experience:  MBBS, MS (General Surgery), Fellowship in Sports Medicine
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Dr. Phophalia, My question is about MSSA and MRSA and the

Customer Question

Dr. Phophalia,
My question is about MSSA and MRSA and the possibility of spreading this to my son who is dating the young lady who suffers from it and has for some time. She has been less than candid about it. At first she told him it was a spider bite near her eye and then when she went to the hospital for treatment it was MRSA. When I reacted strongly and told my son it was contagious (she had told him it wasn't) She then said it was "MSSA which isn't contagious" she said "but MRSA is". So what's the truth. Who gets it, spreads it, keeps it, etc. I think he is snorting coke with her occassionally (probably sharing the straw). Please tell me the truth about this stuff! Thank you so much. The nurse, Susan Ivy was of limited knowledge I'm afraid.
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  Dr. Arun Phophalia replied 7 years ago.


MRSA (Methicillin resistant staph. aureus) and methicillin-susceptible S. aureus (MSSA), both are contagious and can be transmitted by the contact or intimate touching. The only difference between the two bacteria, which are of same family, is that MRSA is resistant to most of the common antibiotics so treatment is difficult and tedious while MSSA can be treated by the common antibiotics. Any person can get it and spread it if one contacts with the person who has this infection. Your son can get a nasal swab done, to know if there is a transmission or not.

Please feel free for your follow up questions.

Dr. Arun

Customer: replied 7 years ago.

I thought we all carry this staph on our skin and in our nasal passages and it usually does no harm to the average person. It's when it comes out and interacts with certain bacterium in circumstances that this somehow causes infections that are awful! So, do people who get this MRSA and MSSA disease have it forever but only have "breakouts of infection" now and then? If so, are they contagious when the infections are dormant?

If this thing is so contagious and easily transmitted it seems we would have heard more about this already wouldn't we? In sex-ed classes in my kid's schools. In sexually transmitted statistics in the newspapers and warned of the high rate of transmittance.

Expert:  Dr. Arun Phophalia replied 7 years ago.


This is not considered as sexually transmitted disease (as it can be transmitted by door knobs or sharing clothes, towels, napkins) and you rightly mentioned that many of us would be carrier and may not get the symptoms of the infection. The symptoms of infection is dependent on may factors like weakened body resistance, fever and thus the low immunity and that time these bacteria may have break out. Otherwise we may have the bacteria but may not have the break out. Even when they are dormant they can be contagious and can be transmitted to the other individuals. They are easily transmitted but the break out are not commonly seen as most of us have good resistance for them. The MSSA and MRSA do get eradicated also and does not necessarily one is carrier all the life.

It is pleasure and privilege assisting you.

I hope this was helpful to you. If it was, please remember to ACCEPT the answer so I can get compensated for my work. If you have any more questions, please feel free to ask. I am truly privileged to help you, and I want to make sure that you are satisfied with the answer. Good luck!

Dr. Arun