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Staphylococcus aureus

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Staphylococcus is a bacteria that frequently causes diseases of the skin and other organs.

Staphylococcus aureus appearance on agar plates
Staphylococcus aureus appearance on agar plates


Staph bacteria are usually harmless, but they can cause serious infections that can lead to sepsis or death.

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a cause of staph infection that is difficult to treat because of resistance to some antibiotics.

Healthcare associated infections

Staph infections—including those caused by MRSA—can spread in hospitals, other healthcare facilities.

Community acquired MRSA

MRSA infections can also spread in the community where you live, work, and go to school.

Risk factors

The risk increases with activities or places that involve crowding, skin-to-skin contact, and shared equipment or supplies. Some of the people who carry MRSA can go on to get a MRSA infection. Non-intact skin, such as when there are abrasions or incisions, is often the site of an MRSA infection. Athletes, daycare and school students, military personnel in barracks, and those who receive inpatient medical care or have surgery or medical devices inserted in their body are at higher risk of MRSA infection.


Most S. aureus skin infections, including MRSA, appear as a bump or infected area on the skin that might be:

  • red
  • swollen
  • painful
  • warm to the touch
  • full of pus or other drainage
  • accompanied by a fever



Clindamycin, Tetracyclines, Doxycycline, Minocycline, Trimethoprim Sulfamethoxazole, Rifampin, Linezolid are FDA-approved to treat serious infections due to S. aureus.

Resistance to antibiotics

MRSA is resistant to all currently available beta-lactam agents (penicillins and cephalosporins) n Fluoroquinolones (e.g., ciprofloxacin, levofloxacin) and macrolides (erythromycin, clarithromycin, azithromycine) are not optimal for treatment of MRSA SSTIs because resistance is common or may develop rapidly

Tests to determine sensitivity

D-zone test should be performed to identify inducible clindamycin resistance in erythromycin-resistant isolates Doxycycline is FDA-approved to treat S. aureus skin infections. Not recommended during pregnancy n Not recommended for children under the age of 8.


Cover your wounds with clean, dry bandages until healed. Follow your healthcare provider’s instructions about proper care of the wound. Pus from infected wounds can contain MRSA. Do not pick at or pop the sore. Throw away bandages and tape with the regular trash. Clean your hands often. You, your family, and others in close contact should wash hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand rub, especially: after changing a bandage after touching an infected wound after touching dirty clothes Do not share personal items such as towels, washcloths, razors, and clothing, including uniforms. Wash laundry before use by others and clean your hands after touching dirty clothes.

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