Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
Staphylococcus is a group of bacteria that can cause a number of diseases as a result of infection of various tissues of the body.
Staphylococcus is more familiarly known as Staph (pronounced "staff"). Staph-related illness can range from mild and requiring no treatment to severe and potentially fatal.
The name Staphylococcus comes from the Greek staphyle, meaning a bunch of grapes, and
kokkos, meaning berry, and that is what Staph bacteria look like under the microscope, like a bunch of grapes or little round berries. (In technical terms, these are gram-positive, facultative anaerobic, usually unencapsulated cocci.)
Over 30 different types of Staphylococci can infect humans, but most infections are caused by
Staphylococcus aureus. Staphylococci can be found normally in the nose and on the skin (and less commonly in other locations) of
around 25%-30% of healthy adults and in 25% of hospital workers. In the majority of cases, the bacteria do not cause disease. However, damage to the skin or other injury may allow the bacteria to overcome the natural protective mechanisms of the body, leading to infection.
Who is at risk for Staph infections?
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 due either to disease or a result of immune suppressing medications all have an increased risk of developing Staph infections.
Staph infections are contagious until the infection has resolved. Direct contact with an infected sore or wound, or with personal-care items such as razors, bandages, etc., are common routes of transmission. Casual contact such as kissing or hugging does not pose a great risk for transmission if there is no direct contact with the infected area.
What does a Staph infection look like?
Reviewed by William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR on 4/20/2012
MRSA, or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, is a bacteriumthat can
cause serious infections. It is resistant to numerous antibiotics of the
beta-lactam family, including methicillinand penicillin.
MRSA belongs to the large group of bacteria known as
Staphylococci, often referred to as Staph. About 25%-30% of all people have Staph
within the nose, but it normally does not cause an infection. In contrast, only about 1% of the
population have MRSA.
Infections with MRSA are most common in
hospitals and other institutional health-care settings, such as nursing homes,
where they tend to strike older people, those who are very ill, and people with a
weakened immune system. In health-care settings, MRSA is a frequent cause of
surgical wound infections, urinary
tract infections, bloodstream infections (sepsis), and pneumonia.
MRSA outbreaks, however, are appearing increasingly in the
community. Infections can occur in people who have not been hospitalized or had a
medical procedure performed in the past year, and who do not have immune
deficiency. These infections are termed community-associated MRSA infections
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) estimates that about 12% of
MRSA infections are now community-associated, but this percentage can vary by
community and patient population.
A sty (sometimes spelled stye) is a tender, painful red bump located at the base of an eyelash or under or inside the eyelid. A sty results from a localized infection of the glands or a hair follicl"...