Staphylococcus aureus is defined as spherical bacterium (coccus) which on microscopic examination appears in pairs, short chains, or bunched, grape-like clusters. These organisms are Gram-positive. Some strains are capable of producing an extremely heat-stable protein toxin that causes illness in humans according to U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Also known as staph, this disease is a very aggressive. It can happen to the healthiest of people, and it can happen to anyone at any age. You can be infected months before you even know you have it. There are several ways you can contract it, from underlying health conditions to invasive health devices. There are steps you can take to help with prevention but ultimately, there is no way to protect yourself fully, and it can get scary.
Staphylococcus has had many outbreaks over the years, some small and some big. In Texas, there were 16 elementary schools that had a severe outbreak break, and 1,364 children became ill out of a total of 5,824. (U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 2012) 95% of students who became ill after they ate the chicken salad. After the investigation, it was discovered that the mixture was kept at room temp for prolong periods of time and the chicken had large numbers of Staphylococcus aureus contamination. After the investigation, they believed the contamination occurred when the chicken was deboned as it was not cooled properly, and when the food was kept at room temperature before serving, the Staphylococcus grew rapidly in these conditions. It is crucial that while cooking, foods are maintained at the right temperature and during cooking, following the correct procedures for food handling, as this is the best prevention. Symptoms
Staphylococcus can be very scary because it can be affecting your body and maybe even killing you before you even know it. There are several different symptoms you can possibly have once you have been infected. There is skin infections, food poisoning, bacteremia, toxic shock syndrome, and septic arthritis. Staphylococcus can live on the skin several months before you can see any signs of it. Staph can cause boils, impetigo, cellulitis, and Staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome. If you eat something with staph common symptoms are low blood pressure, nausea and vomiting, dehydration, and diarrhea. Since there are so many things that can cause this, it is recommended that you go see a doctor is you have any of these symptoms as soon as possible. (Mayo clinic staff, 2014) Prevention and Treatment
Like any disease out there, there are several things that we can to help with prevention. Wash your hands, and make sure that sure that you use disposable towels. If those are not available, use sanitizer with at least 62% alcohol (mayo clinic staff, 2014). It will be great to keep a bottle on hand