In this section
Staphylococcus aureus (commonly referred to as 'staph') is a
bacteria commonly carried on the skin or in the nose of healthy
people. It generally causes no problems or illness. But, if
the bacteria enters the body through a wound, cut or
graze, or open skin (such as through a 'drip' into a vein or broken
skin such as in eczema), it may multiply and cause an
Staph is one of the most common causes of skin infections and
can cause serious wound infections.
Since the 1950s, some strains of staph have built up resistance to
antibiotics. Staph that is resistant to the antibiotic methicillin
is called methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
People in the community often refer to MRSA as 'golden
staph' because the infected pus is yellow in colour.
A staph or MRSA infection normally only develops in the elderly,
the very sick or those who have an open wound. It can only be
spread by physical contact. You cannot catch it just by being in
the same room as the infected person. Good hand hygiene can prevent
the spread of MRSA.
This is caused by staph aureus and is usually seen in children
under the age of two years. It can start with a lesion around the
nose or mouth, which then quickly develops into a bright red area.
When touched, the affected skin may peel off in sheets. If the
child becomes seriously ill, antibiotic therapy is needed.
Staph aureus can cause other kinds of illnesses including bone
infections, impetigo (school sores), pneumonia and blood stream
If your child is prescribed antibiotics, the full course of
antibiotics should be completed. If the infection does not get
better please seek medical advice.
Developed by the Infection Control
Department, RCH, Victoria. First published 2004. Updated