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Staphylococcus aureus & Exposure Risks

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Published on Oct 2, 2014

Staphylococcus aureus, commonly referred to as staph, is a type of bacteria that has long been recognized as a cause of disease in humans. It is commonly found on the skin and hair as well as in the nose and throat of people and animals.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 30% of people carry Staphylococcus aureus in their noses. Although most of the time it does not cause harm, it can sometimes cause infections. These range from minor skin infections to more serious infections that can even be fatal in some circumstances. This can be especially true in healthcare settings where patients may have a weakened immune system or have undergone medical procedures that make them more susceptible to infections. These infections may include:

• Bacteremia or sepsis when bacteria spread to the bloodstream.
• Pneumonia, which predominantly affects people with underlying lung disease.
• Endocarditis, which can lead to heart failure or stroke.
• Osteomyelitis, which can be caused by staph bacteria traveling in the bloodstream or put there by direct contact following trauma.

Staph bacteria can also become resistant to certain antibiotics. These drug-resistant staph infections include:

• Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)
• Vancomycin-intermediate Staphylococcus aureus (VISA)
• Vancomycin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (VRSA)

Anyone can develop a staph infection, although certain groups of people are at greater risk. These include people with chronic conditions such as diabetes, cancer, vascular disease, eczema and lung disease.

Staph is frequently spread to others by contaminated hands and person to person contact. Staph can also cause food poisoning if a food handler contaminates food and then the food is not properly refrigerated. Other sources of food contamination may include the equipment and surfaces on which food is prepared as staph can multiply quickly at room temperature.

These are just a few things to know about Staphylococcus aureus. To learn more about this or other environmental, health and safety issues, please visits the websites shown in the video.

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