Microbiology & infectious diseases

Gram positive bacteria

Staph aureus

Last author update: 1 August 2013
Last staff update: 1 October 2020

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PubMed Search: Staphylococcus aureus[title]

Christopher S. Hale, M.D.
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Cite this page: Hale C. Staph aureus. PathologyOutlines.com website. https://www.pathologyoutlines.com/topic/microbiologystaphaureus.html. Accessed May 19th, 2024.
Definition / general
  • Gram stain: positive
  • Morphology: cocci in clusters
  • Facultative anaerobe
  • Part of normal flora of skin, mucus membranes, nasal passages
  • Greek "Staphyle" (grape) + coccus, referring to grape cluster-like morphology on Gram stain
  • Staphylococcal food poisoning
  • Staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome
  • Skin and soft tissue infections
  • Septic arthritis
  • Endocarditis
  • Bacteremia
  • Any body site may be infected
  • Culture conditions:
    • BAP (non-contaminated sites), colistin nalidixic acid agar (contaminated sites) or mannitol-salt agar
    • Chromogenic agars (J Clin Microbiol 2003;41:5695)
    • 34 - 37°C

  • Gram positive
  • Catalase positive
  • Coagulase positive (slide or tube test)
  • Mannitol fermenter
  • Novobiocin sensitive (S. saprophyticus is novobiocin resistant)
Clinical images

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Colonies of Staph. aureus

Gross description
  • Cream yellow to orange on BAP, smooth, beta-hemolytic
Microscopic (histologic) images

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Gram positive cocci in clusters

Molecular / cytogenetics description
Differential diagnosis
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