Staph Infection (Staphylococcus Aureus)
Table of Contents
- Staph infection facts
- What is Staphylococcus? What causes a staph infection?
- Who is at risk for staph infections?
- Is a staph infection contagious?
- How long is a staph infection contagious?
- What is the incubation period for a staph infection?
- What are the symptoms and signs of a staph infection?
- What types of diseases are caused by staph? What are the different types of staph infections?
- What types of diseases are caused by staph? (continued)
- What tests do health care professionals use to diagnose a staph infection?
- What is the treatment for staph infections?
- What types of health care professionals treat staph infections?
- What is antibiotic-resistant S. aureus?
- What are complications of staph infections?
- Is it possible to prevent staph infections?
- What is the prognosis for staph infections?
What is Staphylococcus? What causes a staph infection?
Staphylococcus is a group of bacteria (microbe or germ) that can cause a number of infectious diseases in various tissues of the body. Staphylococcus is more familiarly known as staph (pronounced "staff"). Staph-related illness can range from mild and requiring no treatment to severe and potentially fatal.
The name Staphylococcus comes from the Greek staphyle, meaning a bunch of grapes, and kokkos, meaning berry, and that is what staph bacteria look like under the microscope, like a bunch of grapes or little round berries. (In technical terms, these are gram-positive, facultative anaerobic, usually unencapsulated cocci.)
Over 30 different types of staphylococci can infect humans, but most infections are caused by Staphylococcus aureus. Staphylococci can be found normally in the nose and on the skin (and less commonly in other locations) of around 25%-30% of healthy adults and in 25% of hospital or medical workers. In the majority of cases, the bacteria do not cause disease. However, a cut, abrasion, or other damage to the skin or other injury may allow the bacteria to overcome the natural protective mechanisms of the body, leading to infection.