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Ask the Medical Expert Archives 2000-2004

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Staph Infection
May 2003

Q. I am a Client Service Worker, and one of my clients has developed a staph infection. Here in our small town, little has been disclosed to us on the above-mentioned topic. What causes staph infection? How is it treated? Is it a killer? What are the symptoms? How is it contracted? Where can I find information on the web about it?

A. Staph is a specific bacteria, Staphylococcus aureus, that is found normally in humans at locations including the skin and mouth. Only certain species of Staph are common causes of infection in humans. Staph are a common cause of infection of the skin following trauma such as a laceration or skin abrasion. In such cases skin cleansing and care is needed and antibiotics if the infection is not clearing.

Staph getting into the bloodstream is quite serious indeed and can become a life-threatening situation. Hospital treatment with intravenous antibiotics may be needed in this case. So the symptoms and treatment will depend on the location and severity of infection.



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