This highly magnified electron micrograph depicted numbers of Staphylococcus aureus bacteria, which were found on the luminal surface of an indwelling catheter. Of importance is the sticky-looking substance woven between the round cocci bacteria, which was composed of polysaccharides, and is known as "biofilm". This biofilm has been found to protect the bacteria that secrete the substance from attacks by antimicrobial agents such as antibiotics; Magnified 2363x.
S. aureus, often referred to simply as "staph," are bacteria commonly carried on the skin, or in the nose of healthy people. Approximately 25% to 30% of the population is colonized, i.e., when bacteria are present, but not causing an infection, in the nose with staph bacteria.
Staph bacteria are one of the most common causes of skin infections in the United States. Most of these skin infections are minor such as pimples and boils, and can be treated without antibiotics, which are also known as antimicrobials or antibacterials. However, MRSA has become a prevalent nosocomial pathogen in the United States. In hospitals, the most important reservoirs of MRSA are infected or colonized patients. Although hospital personnel can serve as reservoirs for MRSA and may harbor the organism for many months, they have been more commonly identified as a link for transmission between colonized or infected patients. The main mode of transmission of MRSA is via hands (especially health care workers' hands) which may become contaminated by contact with a) colonized or infected patients, b) colonized or infected body sites of the personnel themselves, or c) devices, items, or environmental surfaces contaminated with body fluids containing MRSA.
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Staphylococcus aureus (in biofilm) 2: Created on September 9th, 2007. Last Modified on November 4th, 2009
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