What to Know About MRSA Pneumonia: Causes, Treatment

What to Know About MRSA Pneumonia Causes Treatment

MRSA pneumonia can result in bloody coughs and breathing difficulties. It needs to be treated right away using specialised drugs.

Pneumonia was the cause of 41,309 fatalities and 1.4 million ER visits in the US in 2021. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus is one of the bacteria that cause this lung ailment, which causes the air sacs in the lungs to inflame and fill with fluid or pus (MRSA).

A kind of staph bacteria known as MRSA is resistant to some of the common antibiotics used to treat bacterial infections. An MRSA infection can spread to organs such as the lungs through the bloodstream.

Breathing difficulties may be the first symptom of MRSA pneumonia, but if treatment is not received, sepsis and septic shock can occur very quickly.

This page examines MRSA pneumonia in more detail, covering its aetiology, possible side effects, course of therapy, and prognosis.

What causes MRSA pneumonia and who’s at risk?

Although MRSA has traditionally been more frequently seen in hospital patients, it is increasingly frequently found in otherwise healthy people.

Sharing personal objects like towels and razors or coming into physical touch with someone who is infected are two ways that MRSA can spread. Additionally, coming into contact with contaminated surfaces might transmit it.

When the bacteria penetrate the body through a cut or break in the skin, MRSA infections happen. Unlike many cold and flu viruses, MRSA cannot be transferred by the air; but, once it enters the bloodstream, it can travel throughout the body and reach organs such as the lungs. MRSA pneumonia can arise when the bacteria enter the lungs.

A person's risk of developing MRSA pneumonia increases if they have:
  • recently been in the hospital
  • a weakened immune system
  • been on a ventilator

How to reduce your risk of MRSA pneumonia

To lower your chance of developing MRSA pneumonia:
  • Often wash your hands.
  • Any cuts should be bandaged until they heal.
  • Don't share intimate things like towels and razors.
  • In case you exhibit any indications of an infection, promptly seek medical attention.

What are the potential complications of MRSA pneumonia?

MRSA infections in the lungs can result in empyema and pus-filled lung abscesses.

People who have MRSA pneumonia could have:
  • trouble breathing
  • bouts of coughing up of blood
  • low blood pressure
  • high fevers
If MRSA pneumonia is not treated, sepsis and septic shock can occur very fast.

How is MRSA pneumonia treated?

Your doctor may order diagnostic tests if your pneumonia symptoms are not getting better to identify the microorganisms causing the infection. They might recommend broad-spectrum antibiotics, which are meant to eradicate the majority of common bacteria, while they wait for the results.

Doctors will start treating you with particular drugs that MRSA is not resistant to if they determine that MRSA is the cause of your pneumonia. Vancomycin and linezolid are frequently prescribed. (According to certain research, linezolid may work better.)

These drugs may be administered intravenously (IV) by injection or infusion for 7–21 days in the hospital. To make sure the therapies are effective, doctors could take cultures during this period. A bronchoscopy is one of the additional tests they could run to examine the infection inside the lungs.

You might be segregated if you have an MRSA infection and are in the hospital. Doctors may also take extra precautions with hygiene to make sure that MRSA bacteria don't infect anyone else. Among them may be donning disposable gloves and gowns at all times.

Individuals suffering from MRSA pneumonia could require further assistance, such as:
  • procedures to drain abscesses
  • a ventilator
  • medications to help elevate blood pressure

What’s the outlook for someone with MRSA pneumonia?

Research has revealed that patients with MRSA pneumonia not only had lower survival rates than those with non-MRSA pneumonia, but also lengthier hospital stays and higher costs.

Approximately 30–40% of patients with MRSA pneumonia do not make it. Early intervention increases the likelihood of success.

You may read more about MRSA's potential for fatalities here.

MRSA infections might recur occasionally. Your doctor could talk to you about strategies to lessen the number of MRSA bacteria on your skin if you keep getting infections.


MRSA is one of the many types of microorganisms that can cause pneumonia. People who have MRSA pneumonia may cough up blood and have breathing difficulties. Receiving the right care as soon as possible lowers the risk of developing septic shock.

To help your doctor figure out what caused your pneumonia, you must let them know whether you have any risk factors for an MRSA infection or have ever been exposed to MRSA. Since MRSA infections are resistant to numerous antibiotics, they need to be treated with specialised drugs.


What is the best treatment for MRSA pneumonia?

Linezolid and vancomycin

What precautions should be taken for MRSA pneumonia?

Use Contact Precautions when caring for patients with MRSA.

Can MRSA pneumonia be cured?

Around 30–40% who develop MRSA pneumonia do not survive.

How long does MRSA pneumonia last?

seven to 21 days

Is MRSA pneumonia common?

0.51 to 0.64 cases per 100,000

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