• Reviewed on 12/12
    By Dr. Czaja

Multi-Drug Resistant Organisms (MDRO): Overview

Multi-drug resistant organisms (MDRO) are common bacteria (germ) that have developed resistance to multiple types of antibiotics. These bacteria are present on the body of many people, including on the skin, in the nose or other moist areas of the body and in secretions. Antibiotic resistance often occurs following frequent antibiotic use or frequent exposure to a health care setting. For most healthy people these bacteria don’t cause a problem.
MDRO can enter the body and cause infection. MDRO are most likely to enter the body if:

  • There is an open wound in the skin.
  • There is an IV, catheter or other invasive device in place.
  • The person has a suppressed immune system.

Examples of MDRO include:

Colonization Versus Infection

Colonization means the MDRO are present in or on the body but are not causing illness. Healthy people may carry the bacteria causing MDRO without becoming ill.

Infection means the MDRO are present in or on the body and are causing illness. Symptoms of MDRO may vary depending on the part of the body that is infected. Infection can occur in any part of the body. Infections may affect the skin, lungs, urinary tract or bloodstream.



A culture of the suspected infected areas may be sent to the lab to identify the bacteria. When the bacteria are identified and are resistant to various antibiotics, then MDRO are diagnosed.


How It Spreads

MDRO are commonly spread by direct contact. This means MDRO are often spread by the hands. MDRO can be contracted in the hospital or community setting.



MDRO are difficult to treat. Since the usual antibiotic does not work to treat MDRO, other antibiotics are used. Even when the infection is treated MDRO are often still present on the skin or in the nose. This is why isolation is required during future hospital stays.


More Multi-Drug Resistant Organisms (MDRO) Information
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Immune Deficiency Program

Our immune deficiency programs emphasize preventive care and offer a state-of-the-art intravenous immunogloblin (IVIG) infusion room.

Learn more.

Doctors Who Treat Multi-Drug Resistant Organisms (MDRO)


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