Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus – what are the symptoms of an MRSA infection?

The symptoms of an MRSA infection
The symptoms of an MRSA infection

The symptoms of an MRSA infection will depend on what part of the body is infected.

Skin and soft tissue MRSA infections

If MRSA infects the skin, it can result in a wound infection, boil or abscess.

If it infects the deeper layers of skin, it’s known as cellulitis.

Typical symptoms are:





a discharge of pus

Some people have additional symptoms, such as a high temperature (fever) and a general feeling of being unwell.

These infections can also be caused by bacteria other than MRSA, so having the symptoms above doesn’t necessarily mean you have MRSA.

Invasive MRSA infections

If the MRSA bacteria penetrate deeper inside your body or into your blood, they can cause a more serious, invasive infection.

Signs of an invasive infection include:

a high temperature of 38C (100.4F) or above


generally feeling unwell



muscle aches and pains

pain, swelling and tenderness in the affected body part

Examples of invasive MRSA infections include:

blood poisoning (sepsis) – which could lead to septic shock, where your blood pressure drops to a dangerously low level

urinary tract infection (UTI) – infection of the tubes through which urine passes

endocarditis – infection of the heart valves

pneumonia – a lung infection

septic bursitis – inflammation of a fluid-filled sac that forms under the skin (usually over a joint)

septic arthritis – a joint infection

osteomyelitis – a bone infection

Click on the links above for the specific symptoms of these infections.