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Friday, August 01, 2014

Question

If a worker is on antibiotics for MRSA can they still work in the workplace? Or, do they need to stay home until all medication is finished?


Answer

To avoid getting nailed for practicing medicine without a license, let me offer only an opinion based on the CDC website and others.
If someone has only a MRSA skin infection, as most are, it should be kept clean, covered, and inaccessible to others. If this is the case, and, of course, the worker feels well, he or she probably can work safely without exposing others to the staph bacteria.
However, if the infection were in the lungs, even coughing or sneezing could be a source of infection and isolation would be in order.
The person so infected should see the treating physician and get a permission slip to return to work. I'm surprised the employer has not required one for this sort of illness. That would settle once and for all the correct answer to your question in the exact circumstance in which it is asked.

Lynn E. Krafft, ICAN/ATEX Editor
lekrafft@juno.com