Staphylococcus is a certain family of gram-positive bacteria that cause a plethora of diseases to various tissues in the body. Staph infection is the term used in reference to the diseases this genus causes. The word “staphylococcus” is derived from the Greek words Staphyle (a bunch of grapes) and Kokkos (berries). Staphylococcus mainly got its name based on its appearance on the microscope. In 1844, a German physicist name Friedrich Julius Rosenbach was the first to describe and name the bacteria. A huge variety of diseases can be caused by staph infection. These diseases can affect either humans or some animals by either penetration or production of toxins. Staphylococci (the plural term for staphylococcus) is mainly classified based on having the ability to produce coagulase. This substance works by enabling the conversion of fibrinogen to fibrin during blood clot formation.
There are two classifications of staph infection: the coagulase-positive and the coagulase negative.
This classification of bacteria has the ability to survive in dry surfaces – and on dry surfaces alone. This makes them easier to transmit compared to their counterpart. Staphylococcus aureus is an example of a coagulase-positive staphylococcus. It is also the main staphylococcus of the group. A common staph infection related to Staphylococcus aureus is the toxic shock syndrome, an illness that is usually fatal if not intervened immediately. In addition, Staphylococcus aureus can also cause diseases like carbuncles, septic arthritis, staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome and pyaemia, which is a type of septicaemia.
On the other hand, coagulase-negative staphylococci are very common colonizers of the human skin. The Staphylococcus epididermis is one example of the species that cause staph infection in the skin. Other known causative agents from this classification include the Staphylococcus saprophyticus (mainly affects genitourinary tract), Staphylococcus ludgunensis (known to cause endocarditis and osteomyelitis), and Staphylococcus caprae (affects the bloodstream, bones, and joints). People at risk include those with foreign bodies in place like catheters and prosthetics.