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Staphylococcus aureus infection

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Fact sheet - Health conditions directory

Staphylococcus aureus (often referred to as 'staph' or 'golden staph') is a common bacterium. About 30 percent of people carry it either on their skin or in their nose, mostly without it causing any problems. However, sometimes the bacteria get inside the body and cause infection.

Staph most commonly causes skin infections such as boils and impetigo (school sores) but it also sometimes causes serious infections like septicaemia (blood poisoning) and pneumonia.

There are many different strains of staph. Some strains are resistant to the antibiotic called methicillin, and often other antibiotics as well. This is called methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and is more difficult to treat. MRSA is a common cause of infection in hospitals. Some strains of MRSA also spread quite easily between healthy people living in the community. These strains are often quite different to the MRSA strains found in hospitals.

Last updated: 5 June 2023

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