Staphylococcus Aureus

– The information has been reviewed by Dr. Wong Tin Yau, Andrew

Symptoms of Staphylococcus aureus

Staphylococcus aureus is a common bacterium in golden yellow that can be carried in the nasal cavity or on the skin of symptomless healthy people. Infection can be caused by direct contact with such bacteria withimpetigo or abscesses developed on the patient’s face or limbs. The symptoms can deteriorate quickly that a pimple-sized furuncle can grow into a size of a tennis ball within 1 or 2 days.


<Original Source: Hong Kong Economic Journal; Translated by: Hong Kong Adventist Hospital-Stubbs Road>

Transmission of Staphylococcus aureus
Transmission of Staphylococcus aureus

The common bacterium leading to food poisoning, staphylococcus aureus, can survive on objects for months and thus close contacts or household members can easily infect each other. There was a patient with furuncles developed on various body parts multiple times and after conducting detailed analysis and check-ups, his household members were advised to take a bacteria culture test. It was found that his two children carried the bacteria too, with no signs of symptoms of infection. For a decolonization therapy, antibiotic ointment for applying to inner surface of nostrils will be prescribed and the patient should apply disinfectant liquid soap to whole body and hair for at least 5 days to clear the bacteria on his/her body.

Treatment of Staphylococcus aureus
Treatment of Staphylococcus aureus

Antibiotics like penicillin or cephalosporins are typical prescriptions for treatment of furuncles. However, if no improvement is shown after applying these medications, it is possible that the patient is infected with Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). There are two types of MRSA, community acquired or associated MRSA and infection in hospitals, and their treatments are different. Antibiotics like doxycycline are available for treatment of community acquired MRSA strains but special genes of these strains can easily enter tissues and organs of human body, leading to urethritis, necrotizing pneumonia, meningitis, sepsis and others. Thus, we should never overlook such a superbug!

MRSA infection in hospitals is more common amongst patients who had been hospitalized, occupants of care homes, or individuals who have had treatments at medical institutions. Nevertheless, according to global research, strains that are found in community only are mixing with strains that prevail in medical institutions.

If a chronic carrier of staphylococcus aureusis going to receive certain surgical treatment, a decolonization therapy will be done first to lower the risk of wound infection after surgery. For effective infection prevention,we should keep good personal and environmental hygiene and avoid sharing articles, for instance, towels and clothes. It is best to clean and disinfect the household and beddings thoroughly before a patient discharging from the hospital to avoid infection amongst the family.