Staphylococcus bacteria are normally found in the mouth and nose and are harmless and cause no infection. Yet, out of the 30 or more varieties known to cause disease, staphylococcus aureus is the villain most blamed. The type of diseases caused by the various stages of the bacteria in progression is what distinguishes the various types of disease causing Staphylococcus.
Skin diseases are the most common type of staph infections and these are progressive in nature. In other words, the organism can change course according to the part of the body infected. As an example, a simple little pus ridden infected pimple on the surface of the skin can develop into impetigo, a particularly infectious itchy and crusty skin disease; it can also develop into cellulitis and infect deeper tissues.
Skin pustules contain contaminants easily transferred to others as well as re-infecting other sites on the same person. Often staphylococcus enters the bloodstream and the probabilities and possibilities of infection sites are unlimited. The entrance of Staphylococcus aureus into the blood is known as septicemia or toxemia and can easily be spread to other organs. This is the organism that is responsible for one type of bacterial pneumonia and is serious indeed. Endocarditis, an infection causing the interior lining of the heart to be diseased can lead to complicated heart conditions, mainly heart failure.
Food contaminated with Staphylococcus aureus is one source of food poisoning causing vomiting and diarrhea. Another type of illness, toxic shock caused by Staphylococcus aureus toxins growing in oxygen sparse areas, is a serious infection with rapid acceleration into shock. It first became known when women wearing tampons suddenly became ill with this type of illness.
Most vulnerable to Staphylococcus aureus are those with weakened immune systems, newborn babies with no built up immunity to disease, and those with impaired immune systems due to another weakening disease condition. Symptoms of infection depend on the location. On the skin there will be redness and itching, with staphylococcal pneumonia, difficulty in breathing with an associated elevated temperature and possibly a rapid heart rate. In other words the bacteria, after entering an organ, interfere with its metabolic processes and disrupt the normal activity. T
Staphylococcus bacteria have been especially problematic in the last thirty years or since these tenacious little disease organisms have the capability of morphing into a disease resisting variety that often defy treatment. MSRA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) is a resistant type of staph that has the ability to live and to become immune to antibiotics.
For this reason, people taking antibiotics are warned against taking antibiotics except when necessary and to following the doctor’s instructions precisely. When the organisms are only partially annihilated by an antibiotic, the few remaining germs rebound and having withstood the onslaught of antibiotics have mutated into a resistant form. They will be ready the next time they are bombarded with an antibiotic.
Cleanliness and superb hand washing and the maintenance of good hygiene are essential to disease prevention in general and in particular with staphylococcus infections. Also, eating the right kinds of food and getting rest and enough sleep and other immune system aids will go far in keeping this bacterial villain under control. It is impossible to eradicate it entirely so keeping healthy and aware of potential invasions is the best policy.