Staphylococcus aureus

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Staphylococcus aureus (pronounced /ˌstæfɨlɵˈkɒkəs ˈɔri.əs/, literally the "golden cluster seed" or "the seed gold" and also known as golden staph and Oro staphira) is a facultatively anaerobic, Gram-positive coccus and is the most common cause of staph infections. It is frequently part of the skin flora found in the nose and on skin. About 20% of the human population are long-term carriers of S. aureus.[1] The carotenoid pigment staphyloxanthin is responsible for S. aureus' characteristic golden colour, which may be seen in colonies of the organism. This pigment acts as a virulence factor with an antioxidant action that helps the microbe evade death by reactive oxygen species used by the host immune system. Staph organisms which lack the pigment are more easily killed by host defenses.

S. aureus can cause a range of illnesses from minor skin infections, such as pimples, impetigo, boils (furuncles), cellulitis folliculitis, carbuncles, scalded skin syndrome, and abscesses, to life-threatening diseases such as pneumonia, meningitis, osteomyelitis, endocarditis, toxic shock syndrome (TSS), chest pain, bacteremia, and sepsis. Its incidence is from skin, soft tissue, respiratory, bone, joint, endovascular to wound infections. It is still one of the five most common causes of nosocomial infections, often causing postsurgical wound infections. Abbreviated to S. aureus or Staph aureus in medical literature, S. aureus should not be confused with the similarly named and similarly dangerous (and also medically relevant) species of the genus Streptococcus.

S. aureus was discovered in Aberdeen, Scotland in 1880 by the surgeon Sir Alexander Ogston in pus from surgical abscesses.[2] Each year, some 500,000 patients in American hospitals contract a staphylococcal infection.[3]

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