Staphylococcus Aureus, often referred to simply as ‘Staph’, a bacteria commonly found on the skin and in the nose of people.
Person-to-person transmission is the usual form of spread and occurs through contact with secretions from infected skin lesions, nasal discharge or spread via the hands. S. aureus is a spherical bacterium (coccus) which on microscopic examination appears in pairs, short chains, or bunched, grapelike clusters. These organisms are Gram-positive. Some strains are capable of producing a highly heat-stable protein toxin that causes illness in humans. Some isolates of S. aureus are classified as Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). These are a type of bacteria that are resistant to certain antibiotics. These antibiotics include methicillin and other more common antibiotics such as oxacillin, penicillin and amoxicillin. Staph infections, including MRSA, occur most frequently among persons in hospitals and healthcare facilities (such as nursing homes and dialysis centers) who have weakened immune systems.