Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)


Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a bacterium that can live in the nose, on the skin, or in the lower intestine. MRSA is a form of Staphylococcus aureus that is resistant to the usual antibiotics used to treat it.

Some people carry, or become colonized with Staphylococcus aureus bacteria but do not have an infection. However, sometimes Staphylococcus aureus causes infections, which means that the bacterium is making them sick.

If MRSA causes an infection, then stronger antibiotics must be used to treat it. Hospitalized patients who already have weakened immune systems or who have open wounds, catheters or other invasive devices are more susceptible to an infection with MRSA.


MRSA can be spread or transmitted to other people through touch. It can survive on regular surfaces and on hands for hours to days. MRSA can also be spread on the hands of health care providers and medical equipment, if not properly disinfected. MRSA does not travel through the air.

See our Frequently Asked Questions to learn more about MRSA.

North York General Hospital regularly monitors and reviews infection rates and uses this information to execute best practice protective measures and continually improve patient care and safety.
Access the NYGH  rate of hospital-acquired MRSA bloodstream infections (calculated as the total number of hospital-acquired MRSA bloodstream infections per 1,000 inpatient days) and the absolute number of cases in the monthly reporting period.

What we are doing to improve patient safety

Our hospital has undertaken many initiatives to provide patients with safer care. One of these, North York General's Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) initiative, is improving patient safety in a number of ways, including:
  • Developing a comprehensive system for screening and surveillance of high-risk patients for infectious syndromes (e.g. diarrhea, meningitis, etc.) and antibiotic-resistant organisms (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA, vancomycin-resistant enterococci or VRE, C. difficile, etc.)

  • Enhancing our Infection Prevention and Control Program

  • Actively implementing an aggressive hand washing campaign across the entire hospital to dramatically increase hand washing compliance rates

  • Engaging North York General staff in developing plans to respond to pandemic influenza