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Staphylococcal infection

Category: Illness or disabilities



Introduction and description


Staphylococci are species of Gram-positive bacteria that can cause a wide variety of very serious infections in humans and other animals through infection or the production of toxins.

We perhaps best know this bacteria from Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) which has become a major cause of hospital-acquired infections, and has also been recognized with increasing frequency as the cause of ‘community-acquired infections’, for example, in old people’s homes.

There are two main types – coagulase positive and coagulase negative.

  • Of the coagulase negative bacteria, some such as S. epidermidis, are found naturally on our skin.  They only become a problem when the doctor feeds us immunosuppressants – in other words when our immune system is depressed, deliberately by the medical profession or accidentally by stress.  In recent years, several other staphylococcal species have been implicated in human infections, notably S. lugdunensis, S. schleiferi, and S. caprae.
  • The main ‘coagulase-positive’ staphylococcus is Staphylococcus aureus, although not all strains of Staphylococcus aureus are coagulase positive. These bacteria can survive on dry surfaces, increasing the chance of transmission.

The Diseases


Just how many infections they cause is only now being researched, as such the lists that follow may well not be complete by any means. 

Food poisoning - Staphylococcal toxins are a common cause of food poisoning, as they can be produced in improperly-stored food.

Eye disease - Staphylococci are also known to be a cause of bacterial conjunctivitis, as well as ‘styes’ and other eye problems.

Meningitis - Among neurosurgical patients, it can cause community-acquired meningitis, however, the bacteria is implicated in other forms of brain disease and damage

Ear infections - Streptococcus pneumoniae, Streptococcus pyogenes, Staphylococcus aureus can all cause mastoiditis and other ear infections and may cause deafness and tinnitus


Skin infections – abscesses, boils, and carbuncles may all be caused by this bacteria.  They are the cause of impetigo

Arthitis – various forms including rheumatoid arthritis can be caused by this bacteria, other types of bone and muscle disease may also be caused by this bacteria

Osteomyelitis – can be caused by this bacteria both acute and chronic cases

Heart disease  - can be caused by this bacteria.  For example Acute bacterial endocarditis (ABE) is more likely to be caused by Staphylococcus aureus than other bacteria because it has much greater virulence, or disease-producing capacity and frequently causes 'metastatic infection'.

Intestinal disease – gastroenteritis and other Intestinal diseases can be caused by this bacteria.  It is one of the pathogens implicated in IBS.

Lung disease – can be caused by this bacteria.  For example it is known to cause pneumonia

Septicaemia - S. aureus infection can a type of septicaemia called pyaemia. The infection can be life-threatening.

Sexually transmitted disease and reproductive system problems - S. saprophyticus, which is a  coagulase-negative species and part of the normal vaginal flora, is “predominantly implicated in genitourinary tract infections in sexually-active young women” [Wikipedia].

Kidney disease – this bacteria is able to cause kidney disease

A total of 303 peritonitis episodes ….. were recorded. Gram-positive, gram-negative, fungi, Mycobacterium tuberculosis and ≥ 2 organisms were isolated from 102 (33.7%), 89 (29.4%), 41 (13.5%), 11 (3.6%) and five (1.6%) episodes respectively; 55 (18.2%) episodes were culture negative. Coagulase-negative Staphylococcus spp. (CONS) was the most common isolate. PMID:  24584592

Pancreas, liver, stomach disease  - in the following observation, the researchers assume the patients caught the infections in hospital, but the evidence seems to point to the fact that the bacteria and other pathogens they identified were the cause of the illness and it was only the surgery that identified their presence

A total of 358 patients were included:
  - 150 (42%) with pancreas resection,
  - 91 (25%) with liver resection,
  - 105 (29%) with gastric resection, and
  - 12 (3%) with esophagus resection.
Intra-abdominal (16.5%) and surgical site infections (12.3%) were most frequent; 80.8% of the NI were culture-positive. The most frequent clinically relevant isolates were
  - Escherichia coli (12.4%),
  - coagulase-negative staphylococci (CoNS) (12.2%), and
  - Enterococcus faecium (9.7%).
The highest resistance rates were found for Staphylococcus aureus (methicillin-resistant S. aureus [MRSA] 29.4%) and Pseudomonas aeruginosa (23.5%).  PMID:  26046248


 These bacteria can cause disease in every organ.



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