Skin Home > Is a Staph Infection Contagious?

Staphylococcus bacteria are contagious, which means that anyone can contract a staph infection. However, certain environments put you at a greater risk of developing this type of infection. Staph is more likely to be found in places that are crowded, such as dormitories, or where there is a lot of skin-to-skin contact, such as daycare centers.

How Contagious Are Staph Infections?

A staph infection is caused by Staphylococcus bacteria. There are several different types of Staphylococcus bacteria ("staph" for short) that can cause infections in humans (see Staph Infection Causes). Most of the time, they cause skin infections; however, staph bacteria can also cause more serious infections.
 
Many people wonder if staph infections are contagious. The answer is yes -- staph can be spread between individuals. This transmission normally occurs through direct skin-to-skin contact or touching shared items or surfaces (such as towels or used bandages) that have come into contact with someone else's infection.
 
Staph skin infections can affect anyone. However, these infections tend to occur more often in certain settings, such as schools, dormitories, military barracks, households, correctional facilities, and daycare centers.
 
These settings have factors that make it easier for staph to be transmitted, including:
 
  • Crowding
  • Frequent skin-to-skin contact
  • Compromised skin (i.e., cuts or abrasions)
  • Contaminated items and surfaces
  • Lack of cleanliness.
     
(You can learn more about how this contagious illness is spread by clicking Staph Transmission. You can also learn who is at risk for Staphylococcus infections by reading Staph Infection Risk Factors.)
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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