Staph Infection Blog

This Blog will feature information about staph infections, and the various complications and symptoms caused by Staphylococcus aureus bacteria which is simply called staph. We will also provide information about the different types of staph like the MRSA which is a type of Staphylococcus aureus that is resistant to the antibiotic methicillin.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Impetigo - Complication of Staph Infection

What is impetigo?

Impetigo is a kind of skin infection that affects skin in any part of the body, it commonly occurs in the areas around the nose and mouth.
This usually affects childrens (preschool) especially in summer months. Impetigo caused by staph bacteria is characterized by large blisters containing fluid that is clear at first that turns cloudy later on. Blisters may burst, ooze fluid and can develop a honey colored crust. I has the tendency to itch and can be spread by scratching.
The typical treatment for impetigo is by topical ointment, it the condition is severe, oral antibiotics is used.
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Wednesday, January 2, 2008

The Spread of Staph Infection

Staph infections can spread on contaminated surfaces, from person to person and can also spread airborne or through the air. So, generally speaking, a child can carry staph bacteria from one area of his body to another dirty hands and under dirty fingernails. It can be passed from person to person on that way. The most important way to prevent staph infections is by hand washing.

Keeping your body clean with a daily bath or shower can also prevent staph skin infections. It is important to keep injured areas of the skin such as cuts or scrapes, always clean and covered.
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Sunday, December 23, 2007

Antibiotic Resistant Staph Aureus

MRSA stands for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, a type of staph infection that is resistant to methicillin and other commonly used antibiotics in the same class, including penicillin, amoxicillin, and oxacillin.

MRSA infections are usually mild superficial infections of the skin that can be treated successfully with proper skin care and antibiotics. MRSA, however, can be difficult to treat and can progress to life-threatening blood or bone infections because there are fewer effective antibiotics available for treatment.

MRSA often appears as a pimple or boil that can be red, swollen, and painful. The lesion may also have pus or other drainage. Draining the lesion in the doctor's office may be the only treatment needed for localized skin infections, but doctors may also treat skin infections with oral antibiotics that are not resistant to the infection

The transmission of MRSA is largely from people with active MRSA skin infections. MRSA is almost always spread by direct physical contact and not through the air. Spread may also occur through indirect contact by touching objects (such as towels, sheets, wound dressings, clothes, workout areas, sports equipment) contaminated by the infected skin of a person with MRSA. Just as S. aureus can be carried on the skin or in the nose without causing any disease, MRSA can be carried in this way also.

More recently, strains of Staph aureus have been identified that are resistant to the antibiotic vancomycin, which is normally effective in treating Staph infections. These bacteria are referred to as vancomycin-intermediate resistance S. aureus (VISA) and vancomycin-resistant Staph aureus (VRSA).
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Diseases Caused by Staph Infections

What types of diseases are caused by Staph?

Staph infections of the skin
  • impetigo - a crusting of the skin
  • cellulitis - inflammation of the connective tissue under the skin, leading to swelling and redness of the area.
  • scalded skin syndrome - although this is a rare case of serious complication
  • mastitis - inflammation of the breast in breastfeeding women. Staphylococcal breast abscesses can release bacteria into the mother's milk.

When the bacteria enter the bloodstream and spread to other organs, a number of serious infections can occur. Staphylococcal pneumonia predominantly affects people with underlying lung disease and can lead to abscess formation within the lungs. Infection of the heart valves (endocarditis) can lead to heart failure. Spread of Staphylococci to the bones can result in severe inflammation of the bones known as osteomyelitis. Staphylococcal sepsis (widespread infection of the bloodstream) is a leading cause of shock and circulatory collapse, leading to death, in people with severe burns over large areas of the body.

Staphylococcal food poisoning is an illness of the bowels that causes nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration. It is caused by eating foods contaminated with toxins produced by Staphylococcus aureus. Symptoms usually develop within one to six hours after eating contaminated food. The illness usually lasts for one to three days and resolves on its own. Patients with this illness are not contagious, since toxins are not transmitted from one person to another.

Toxic shock syndrome is an illness caused by toxins secreted by Staph aureus bacteria growing under conditions in which there is little or no oxygen. Toxic shock syndrome is characterized by the sudden onset of high fever, vomiting, diarrhea, and muscle aches, followed by low blood pressure (hypotension), which can lead to shock and death. There may be a rash resembling sunburn, with peeling of skin. Toxic shock syndrome was originally described and still occurs especially in menstruating women using tampons.
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Staphylococcus is group of bacteria, known as Staph. This bacteria causes many diseases as a result of infection of various body tissues. It can also cause sickness indirectly by producing toxins responsible for food poisoning. Illness caused by staph can be mild, severe or potentially fatal.

Staphylococcus comes from (greek word) "staphyle" which means a bunch of grapes and "kokkos" which means berry. It was named after it since staph look like a bunch of grapes and little round berries under the microscope.

How does Staph infection looks like?

There are over 30 types of Staphylococci that can infect us but mostly, infections are caused by Stapylococcus aureus. Staphylococci can be found in the nose and in the skin of around 30% of health adults. The bacteria however do not cause disease in majority cases, but it can damage the skin that may allow the bacteria to overcome the natural protective mechanism of the body which leads to infection.

Anyone can develop a Staph infection, although certain groups of people are at greater risk, including newborn infants, breastfeeding women, and people with chronic conditions such as diabetes, cancer, vascular disease, and lung disease. Injecting drug users, those with skin injuries or disorders, intravenous catheters, surgical incisions, and those with a weakened immune system all have an increased risk of developing Staph infections.

What are the symptoms and signs of a Staph infection?

Staphylococcal disease of the skin usually results in a localized collection of pus, known as an abscess, boil, or furuncle. The affected area may be red, swollen, and painful. Drainage or pus is common.
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Friday, December 21, 2007

Staph Infection Symptoms

Staph Infection Signs and Symptoms

Generally, staph infections can range from minor skin problems to food poisoning, fatal pneumonia, surgical wound infections and endocarditis.
So technically speaking, signs and symptoms of staph infections vary widely, depending on the location and severity of the infection. It is also a factor whether your illness results from direct infection with staph bacteria or from toxins the bacteria produce.

  • Staph bacteria cause most skin infections including boils, cellulitis, impetigo, and scalded skin syndrome. Most begin with skin redness, swelling, warmth, tenderness and sometimes fever. Some staph infections are localized but others can cover your entire body.
  • Symptoms of staph-related food poisoning usually come on quickly — as soon as one to six hours after eating contaminated food. Symptoms include abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. The illness often leaves just as suddenly as it came, and most people recover in a day or two, but the effects can be more serious and longer lasting in children and older adults.
  • Toxic shock syndrome. This life-threatening condition, which has been linked to the use of certain types of tampons and to skin wounds and surgery, usually develops suddenly, with a high fever, nausea and vomiting, a rash on your palms and soles that resembles sunburn, confusion, muscle aches, seizures and headache.
  • Septic arthritis. The bacteria usually target the knees, but other joints can be affected, including ankle, hip, wrist, elbow and shoulder. Affected people likely to have swelling and severe pain in the affected joint, along with fever and shaking chills.
  • Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). MRSA infections often begin as a superficial skin problem that resembles a pimple or spider bite, but which can quickly turn into a deep, painful abscess that requires surgical draining.
  • Community-associated methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus. (CA-MRSA). Signs and symptoms, which are similar to those of other types of pneumonia, include cough, shortness of breath and chest pain, but the bacteria also cause massive inflammation and destruction of lung tissue.
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What is Staph Infections?

Staph infections typically starts as a mild skin infection but beware, it can be deadly. It is now a growing problem in Hospitals in US.

Some diseases caused by Staph

The usual problem caused by Staph Infections is it progresses to Impetigo or Cellulitis. In some cases, it can develop to a serious complication like the scalded skin syndrome. It may even result in inflammation of the breast, in breastfeeding women, called mastitis.

How are Staph infections diagnosed?

In minor skin infections, Staphylococcal infections are usually diagnosed by their appearance without the need for laboratory testing. More serious staph infections such as infection of the bloodstream, pneumonia, and endocarditis require culturing of samples of blood or infected fluids. Special tests are made to determine which antibiotics are effective against the bacteria.

Staph infections treatment

For Minor skin infections, it is usually treated with an antibiotic ointment but there are some cases that oral antibiotics may be given. If abscesses are present, they are surgically drained. For more serious and life-threatening infections, it is treated with intravenous antibiotics. The choice of antibiotic depends on the susceptibility of the staph strains as determined by culture results in the laboratory. Staph strains, such as MRSA are resistant to many antibiotics.
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