Staphylococcus Aureus is the scientific name for a group of bacteria, and are known as the common cause of staph infections in humans. Staphylococcus Aureus was first discovered in 1880 in the pus from a surgical abscess. The bacteria’s grape-like appearance when examined under a microscope led to its name, from the Greek Staphyle (bunch of grapes) and kokkos (berry). Humanity has since learned much more about this bacteria, and the role it plays in human disease.
Staphylococcus Aureus is present in the skin and nasal passageways of many people, without causing any harm to their health. The bacteria is often implicated in minor skin ailments, such as acne and other harmless skin rashes. However, once the bacteria penetrates the skin’s defenses through an open wound or through the body cavities, it can have many harmful effects and even cause death. Staph plays a role in meningitis, toxic shock syndrome, pneumonia and other ailments that can be fatal if left untreated.
Unfortunately, there are many strains of Staphylococcus Aureus, some of which are resistant to certain antibiotics. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, has developed a resistance to most antibiotics and is highly contagious.
A greater understanding of Staphylococcus Aureus and some of its more harmful strains like MRSA has led the medical community to better understand and communicate the importance of proper hygiene. MRSA is commonly transmitted from human to human through not only direct contact with infected humans, but indirect contact as well. MRSA bacteria can be present on gym equipment, metro seats, door handles and clothing.