By: Stephanie Lopez

What is it?

Staphylococcus is a bacteria that includes many pathogens that cause pus formation especially in the skin and mucous membranes. Staph-related illness can range from mild and requiring no treatment to severe and potentially fatal.

What is a staph infection and how can I prevent it?

Diagnosis and Treatment

  • Perform a physical exam. During the exam, your doctor will closely examine any skin lesions you may have.
  • Collect a sample for testing. Most often, doctors diagnose staph infections by checking a tissue sample or nasal secretions for signs of the bacteria.
  • Frequency of the Disease:

    hospital infections each year:1,200,000

    Life-threatening infections from MRSA 94,000

    Deaths resulted from MRSA ~19,000

    Percent of all hospital infections. 20%

    Percentage of U.S. population who are carriers of Staph bacteria on their bodies:30%

    Disease Course:

    Staph multiplies in the internal tissue and produce their effect by the formation of endotoxins. The bacteria is associated with boils, and wound infections. With very few exceptions, pathogenic organisms are unable to penetrate the skin. The bacteria enters through wounds where pathogenic organisms come in contact with the muscle tissue and set up the disease locally. They can also be transferred though the lymphatic fluid and through the bloodstream to other parts of the body. Boils can result from the ingress of the bacteria often at a site subject to irritation or pressure.

    Possible Complications of Staphylococcus:

    Systemic complications included pulmonary emboli, empyema, persistent bacteria entering the body. Such events were rarely life threatening--three of the 34 episodes involving patients without severe concurrent medical problems resulted in death.

    Target Audience:

    People can get staph infections from contaminated objects, but staph bacteria often spread through skin-to-skin contact — the bacteria can be spread from one area of the body to another if someone touches the infected area. Anybody can get Staphylococcus.