What is Staphylococcus aureus?

Staphylococcus aureus is a gram positive bacterium that usually appears under the microscope as spherical (coccus) organisms appearing in pairs, short chains, or bunched, grape-like clusters.

Staphylococcus aureus

What diseases are caused by Staphylococcus aureus?

Staphylococcus aureus has been implicated as a causative agent in acute food poisoning episodes, toxic shock syndrome, impetigo, scalded skin syndrome, cellulitis, folliculitis and furuncles.

It is also a common cause of systemic infections such as infective endocarditis, osteomyelitis, epiglottitis, and sinus infections amongst others. S. aureus is also responsible for many infective and systemic infections in the health care setting (nosocomial infections).

Who is more susceptible to infections with Staphylococcus aureus?

All people are susceptible to infections with Staphylococcus aureus, the disease however, may manifest with varying intensities.

Epidemiology of Staphylococcus aureus

Staphylococcus aureus can cause illness by preformed toxin production as well as by infecting both local tissues and the systemic circulation. Disease transmission can occur in the following settings:

Incubation Period

Incubation Period for foodborne Staphylococcal aureus disease is 1-6 hours. Diagnosis Staphylococcal aureus gastrointestinal illness can be diagnosed by isolating the preformed toxins from the contaminated food item. Systemic infections are best diagnosed by blood cultures.


Staphylococcal aureus are susceptible to beta-lactamase resistant penicillins such as ticarcillin and pipercillin. Vancomycin is the drug of choice for MRSA infections.

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