Staphylococcus aureus

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Last staff update: 9 August 2020

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PubMed search: Staphylococcus aureus [title] pulmonary infection

Elliot Weisenberg, M.D.
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Cite this page: Weisenberg E. Staphylococcus aureus. website. Accessed February 22nd, 2024.
Clinical features
  • Uncommon life threatening pneumonia that may be community acquired or hospital acquired
  • Traditionally caused by S. aureus, but infections by S. epidermidis are increasing (eMedicine)
  • Variable clinical presentation, but patients are acutely ill, often with septicemia or a viral infection
  • High risk: comatose patients, neurosurgery or HIV+ patients
  • Abscesses and empyema are common complications, have high rate of severe morbidity and mortality
  • Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) pneumonia can be deadly (Clin Microbiol Rev 2010;23:616); both community and hospital acquired cases are developing resistance to clindamycin, but are sensitive to trimethoprim / sulfamethoxazole (Am J Med Sci 2012;343:196)
  • Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL) is a rare (< 5% of stains) Staphylococcus aureus cytotoxin which causes WBC destruction and tissue necrosis; emerging as a serious problem worldwide (Clin Infect Dis 1999;29:1128, Wikipedia)
  • No vaccine available (BMC Public Health 2011;11 Suppl 3:S27)
Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Pyogenic response with tissue destruction
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