Your son had a methicillin resistant staph aureus(MRSA) infection while in hospital, was treated successfully and was discharged home.
Infections with MRSA, in the not so distant past, had been limited primarily to hospitalized patients or patients in long-term care facilities. However, recent reports of increasing "community-acquired" MRSA infections are causing concern.
These infections, reportedly occur in otherwise healthy, non-hospitalized persons without known contact with healthcare personnel or other colonized patients.
Colonization is the presence, growth, and multiplication of the organism in one or more body sites without observable clinical symptoms or immune reaction. A ‘carrier’ refers to an individual who is colonized with MRSA. One of the most common sites of colonization is the anterior nares. While health care personnel may become colonized with MRSA, they rarely develop infections with the organism.
Community based studies show that approximately 20% of individuals almost always carry one strain and are called "persistent carriers". A large proportion of the population (60%) harbors S. aureus intermittently, and such persons are called "intermittent carriers". Finally, a minority of people (< 20%) almost never carry S.aureus and are called "noncarriers". Persistent carriage is more common in children than in adults.
Because your son had an MRSA infection while in hospital, it does not automatically mean that he is at a perpetually increased risk of MRSA infections in the future. Everyone in the community (including your son), are at an ever increasing risk. Ofcourse, if your son happens to be a carrier, his theoretical risk certainly increases and risk also potentially increases if a member of the family (includes yourself) or a person who comes into close contact with your son also is a carrier.
As to how long a person in a community will remain a carrier (and which type of a carrier) is a matter of conjecture.
Nasal carriers in the hospital setting are generally treated with may be treated with topical Mupirocin used as short courses (application to the nares twice daily for 5 days). Results of administration of systemic antibiotics have been generally disappointing.
I hope this information is helpful.
MB BS, MS, FRCS(Edinburgh)