By: Sammy Wang
Thirty percent of the human body consists of different types of bacteria. Recently scientists have made a surprising discovery on the bacteria “Staphylococcus aureus” or golden staph.
Most people have a bacteria called golden staph hidden right under their noses. Golden staph resides mainly on the nose and skin; although it’s harmless to most people, it can still cause infections.
Common infections caused by golden staph are boils, abscesses, and impetigo (school sores). These infections cause harm to the skin of adults. Impetigo, on the other hand, is more contagious for newborn babies and school children, making them have crusty skin.
On a more dangerous note, golden staph can also cause meningitis, osteomyelitis, pneumonia, septic phlebitis, and endocarditis. These infections cause damage to membrane linings of the brain, bones, lungs, veins, and heart valves.
Most antibiotics can prevent golden staph, but some bacteria can escape and survive. It was concluded that a genetic mutation caused it. Still, recently a senior researcher at the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity (the Doherty Institute) discovered that golden staph could hide inside human cells to avoid the immune system.
Tim Stinear, a molecular microbiologist at the Doherty Institute, takes part in helping researchers find a way to prevent infections by observing golden staph.
“This new knowledge will guide research to find new ways to combat these infections,” Stinear said.
Doctor Abdou Hachani was the leader and senior researcher of a team studying 400 samples from golden staph infections at the Doherty Institute.
“We were lucky to have a very large collection of clinical isolates or golden staph isolated from blood infections, these were a key part to verify our hypotheses,” Hachani said.
Right now, the Doherty Institute has developed a way to study how golden staph behaves with human cells, hoping they can discover a way to prevent infections.