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A staphylococcus infection or staph infection is an infection caused by members of the Staphylococcus genus of bacteria. These bacteria commonly inhabit the skin and nose where they are innocuous, but may enter the body through cuts or abrasions which may be nearly invisible. Once inside the body, the bacterium may spread to a number of body systems and organs, including the heart, where the toxins produced by the bacterium may cause cardiac arrest. Once the bacterium has been identified as the cause of the illness, treatment is often in the form of antibiotics and, where possible, drainage of the infected area. However, many strains of this bacterium have become antibiotic resistant; for those suffering these kinds of infection, the body's own immune system is the only defense against the disease. If that system is weakened or compromised, the disease may progress rapidly.[1]

Staphylococcal infection
Staphylococcus aureus 01.jpg
SEM micrograph of S. aureus colonies; note the grape-like clustering common to Staphylococcus species.
SpecialtyInfectious disease


Main Staphylococcus aureus infections
Type Examples
Localized skin infections

Diffuse skin infection

Deep, localized infections

Other infections


Unless else specified in boxes, then reference is[5]

Other infections include:

  • Closed-space infections of the fingertips, known as paronychia.
  • Suspected involvement in atopic dermatitis (eczema), including related clinical trials.


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. S. aureus is also implicated[6] in toxic shock syndrome; during the 1980s some tampons allowed the rapid growth of S. aureus, which released toxins that were absorbed into the bloodstream. Any S. aureus infection can cause the staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome, a cutaneous reaction to exotoxin absorbed into the bloodstream. It can also cause a type of septicaemia called pyaemia. The infection can be life-threatening. Problematically, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) has become a major cause of hospital-acquired infections. MRSA has also been recognized with increasing frequency in community-acquired infections.[7] The symptoms of a Staph Infection include a collection of pus, such as a boil or furuncle, or abscess. The area is typically tender or painful and may be reddened or swollen.[8]



The generic name Staphylococcus is derived from the Greek word "staphyle," meaning bunch of grapes, and "kokkos," meaning granule. The bacteria, when seen under a microscope, appear like a branch of grapes or nuts.


  1. ^ "Staph infections". Mayo Clinic.
  2. ^ Kurono, Y.; Tomonaga, K.; Mogi, G. (1988-11-01). "Staphylococcus epidermidis and Staphylococcus aureus in otitis media with effusion". Archives of Otolaryngology–Head & Neck Surgery. 114 (11): 1262–1265. doi:10.1001/archotol.1988.01860230056023. ISSN 0886-4470. PMID 3262358.
  3. ^ Pastacaldi, C.; Lewis, P.; Howarth, P. (2011-04-01). "Staphylococci and staphylococcal superantigens in asthma and rhinitis: a systematic review and meta-analysis". Allergy. 66 (4): 549–555. doi:10.1111/j.1398-9995.2010.02502.x. ISSN 1398-9995. PMID 21087214.
  4. ^ Payne, Spencer C.; Benninger, Michael S. (2007-11-15). "Staphylococcus aureus Is a Major Pathogen in Acute Bacterial Rhinosinusitis: A Meta-Analysis". Clinical Infectious Diseases. 45 (10): e121–e127. doi:10.1086/522763. ISSN 1058-4838. PMID 17968816.
  5. ^ Fisher, Bruce; Harvey, Richard P.; Champe, Pamela C. (2007). Lippincott's Illustrated Reviews: Microbiology (Lippincott's Illustrated Reviews Series). Hagerstown, MD: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. p. 349. ISBN 978-0-7817-8215-9.
  6. ^ "Staphylococcal Infections". MedlinePlus. US National Institutes of Health.
  7. ^ Sahebnasagh R, Saderi H, Owlia P. Detection of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus strains from clinical samples in Tehran by detection of the mecA and nuc genes. The First Iranian International Congress of Medical Bacteriology; 4–7 September; Tabriz, Iran. 2011. 195 pp.
  8. ^ "Staph Infection". MedicineNet. WebMD.
  9. ^ Becker K, Heilmann C, Peters G (October 2014). "Coagulase-negative staphylococci". Clin. Microbiol. Rev. 27 (4): 870–926. doi:10.1128/CMR.00109-13. PMC 4187637. PMID 25278577.

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