What does a methicilllin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection look like?

Many people who get a MRSA skin infection mistake it for a spider bite because it can appear as a dark center surrounded by a tender area. It often appears as a swollen red bump, similar to a pimple, with a rim of pus around it. The wound is painful. The person may develop a fever to go with the wound.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 11/10/2016.


  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) Accessed 11/10/2016.
  • Gorwitz RJ, Kruszon-Moran D, McAllister SK, et al. Changes in the prevalence of nasal colonization with Staphylococcus aureus in the United States, 2001-2004. J Infect Dis 2008:197:1226-34).
  • Salgado CD, Farr BM, Calfee DP. Community-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus: a meta-analysis of prevalence and risk factors. Clin Infect Dis 2003; 36:131–139.
  • Moran GJ, Krishnadasan A, Gorwitz RJ, et al; EMERGEncy ID Net Study Group. Methicillin-resistant S. aureus infections among patients in the emergency department. N Engl J Med 2006; 355:666–674.

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