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How Do Doctors Diagnose Staph Infections?
Diagnosis of staph infections begins with attempting to culture the bacteria from an infected site. Any area with pus, crusty drainage, or blisters should be cultured. Blood from patients with sepsis, toxic shock syndrome, or pneumonia should be cultured. Standard microbiological techniques include a positive coagulase test to identify staph. S. aureus lyses red blood cells in blood agar plates (hemolytic staph) while S. epidermidis does not (nonhemolytic staph).
All staph should be further tested to see if the bacteria are resistant to the antibiotic methicillin (and other antibiotics) and thus determine if the organisms are MRSA. This test is important as MRSA organisms are resistant to many antibiotics usually prescribed for staph infections.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/27/2015
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