staphyl-, staphylo- +
(Greek: bunch of grapes, uvula [that which resembles a grape hanging from a stock]; staphylococci, grape-shaped bacteria occurring in irregular clusters)
A strain of staph emerged in hospitals in the past that was resistant to the broad-spectrum antibiotics commonly used to treat it. Termed methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), it was one of the first germs to resist all but the most powerful drugs. MRSA infection can be fatal.
Staph bacteria are normally found on the skin or in the nose of about one-third of the population. If you have staph on your skin or in your nose but aren't sick, you are said to be "colonized" but not infected with MRSA. Healthy people can be colonized with MRSA and have no ill effects; however, they can pass the germ on to others.
Staph bacteria are generally harmless unless they enter the body through a cut or other wound, and even then they simply cause only minor skin problems in healthy people. In older adults and people who are ill or have weakened immune systems, ordinary staph infections can cause serious illness.
In the 1990s, a type of MRSA began showing up in the wider community. Today, that form of staph, known as "community-associated MRSA", or "CA-MRSA", is responsible for many serious skin and soft tissue infections and for a serious form of pneumonia.
Causes of MRSA
Although the survival tactics of bacteria contribute to antibiotic resistance, humans bear most of the responsibility for the problem. Leading causes of antibiotic resistance include:
- Unnecessary antibiotic use in humans.
- Antibiotics in food and water.
- Germ mutation.
Like other superbugs, MRSA is the result of decades of excessive and unnecessary antibiotic use. For years, antibiotics have been prescribed for colds, flu and other viral infections that don't respond to these drugs, as well as for simple bacterial infections that normally clear on their own.
Prescription drugs aren't the only source of antibiotics. In the United States, antibiotics can be found in beef cattle, pigs and chickens. The same antibiotics then find their way into municipal water systems when the runoff from feedlots contaminates streams and groundwater.
Routine feeding of antibiotics to animals is banned in the European Union and many other industrialized countries. Antibiotics given in the proper doses to animals who are sick don't appear to produce resistant bacteria.
Even when antibiotics are used appropriately, they contribute to the rise of drug-resistant bacteria because they don't destroy every germ they target.
Bacteria live on an evolutionary process, so germs that survive treatment with one antibiotic soon learn to resist others; and because bacteria mutate much more quickly than new drugs can be produced, some germs end up resistant to just about everything. That's why only a handful of drugs are now effective against most forms of staph.
The uvula is a small piece of soft tissue that can be seen dangling down from the soft palate over the back of the tongue. The uvula is described variously shaped like a U, a tear, or a grape. Its name comes from the Latin word for "grape," uva.
2. Related to the uvula.
When ingested, the toxin causes nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, intestinal cramps, and, in severe cases, prostration and shock.
Hygienic preparation techniques can prevent this form of food poisoning. People preparing food should cook all food thoroughly, refrigerate food during storage, and wash the hands before and after handling various food products.
Certain kinds of food; such as, meat, poultry, fish, and those containing mayonnaise, eggs, or cream; should be refrigerated and used as soon as possible.
2. A group of bacteria that cause a multitude of diseases.
They are facultative anaerobes (those which can grow without oxygen) and do not form spores. Many species are parasites or pathogens of animals and some cause wound infections, abscesses, and a type of food poisoning.
Under a microscope, Staphylococcus bacteria are round and bunched together. They can cause illness directly by infection, or indirectly through products they make; such as, the toxins responsible for food poisoning and toxic shock syndrome.
The best known member of the Staphylococcus family is Staphylococcus aureus (potentially pathogenic bacteria found in nasal membranes, skin, hair follicles, and perineum [region between the thighs] of warm-blooded animals). They may cause a wide range of infections and intoxications.. Staphylococcus are the main culprit in hospital-acquired infections, and cause thousands of deaths every year.
They are killed by pasteurization and many common disinfectants.