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MRSA stands for Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), MRSA is “a type of staph bacteria that is resistant to certain antibiotics called beta-lactams." This continuing education course will cover symptoms of MRSA, diagnosis, treatment and preventative measures massage therapists can take in their therapeutic practice.

MRSA Course outline (3 CEUs):
  • Chapter One: What is MRSA?

MRSA stands for Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), MRSA is “a type of staph bacteria that is resistant to certain antibiotics called beta-lactams. These antibiotics include methicillin and other more common antibiotics such as oxacillin, penicillin, and amoxicillin. In the community, most MRSA infections are skin infections.”i

  • Chapter Two: How does MRSA become Resistant to Antibiotics?

While the exact method of resistance development is unknown, the theory is that Staphylococcus aureus “acquired an antibiotic-resistant gene, called mecA, from another species of bacteria that is common on the skin of domestic and wild animals.”ii

  • Chapter Three: MRSA Symptoms

It is essential that massage therapists (and any other body workers) become familiar with the signs and symptoms of MRSA so you can recognize potential issues on your clients. Once you identify a client as a potential carrier or MRSA, you can then take the proper steps to disinfect your equipment and work area.

  • Chapter Four: Diagnosis of MRSA Beyond Symptomology

Upon exhibiting signs of a staph infection, the doctor will perform a culture of the infected site to detect the bacteria. If the doctor suspects MRSA, a diagnosis will be obtained through “culture and antibiotic sensitivity testing of Staphylococcus aureus bacteria isolated from an infected site; a PCR test is also available.”iii

  • Chapter Five: How is MRSA Treated?

Despite its resistance, most MRSA cases are still treated with antibiotics. Commonly, the cultured MRSA will be tested for antibiotic sensitivities on the culture medium (usually agar) to see which antibiotics the strain has not developed a resistance to. That antibiotic will then be used in treatment. However, these tests for antibiotic sensitivity can take several days to be conclusive and to find the right drug.iv

  • Chapter Six: How Does MRSA spread?

MRSA is transmitted two ways: “by direct (though skin and body fluids) and indirect contact (from towels, diapers, and toys) to uninfected people.”v MRSA carriers are those who are not infected, but who have MRSA on their person while showing no symptoms. MRSA carriers are infectious in that they can spread the infection to others, even though they themselves show no signs of the bacteria. MRSA carriers can be detected through a culture of a swab from the

  • Chapter Seven: Prevention

Preventing the spread of MRSA is paramount to a massage therapist, whose bodywork practice puts her at risk for both HA-MRSA and CA-MRSA. The first step in preventing MRSA is remembering how it is spread: through physical contact with an infected person or with a contaminated surface (physical contact with colonized/infected people is the more common method of transmission).

  • Chapter Eight: Disinfecting for MRSA

If a client shows signs of MRSA and has come into contact with your equipment, you must properly disinfect the area before touching it with your bare hands or before allowing another client to come into contact with the area. MRSA can survive for months on contaminated surfaces, so proper cleaning is vital.




i Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) Infections,”


ii Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Healthcare-Associated Infections Elimination,”


iii MedicineNet, “MRSA Infections,”


iv eMedicineHealth, “MRSA Infection,”


v Ibid.


vi Ibid.



Continuing education units (CEUs) are provided via electronic download in PDF format. Review the course work at your own pace and then take the included test online. You can print your certificate immediately after passing each test! All coursework is NCBTMB approved (NCBTMB # 451897-12). NOTE: Each state has different requirements. Please be sure to check our state requirements page and contact your state to verify your requirements.