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Staph Infection Diagnosis
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, or pneumonia should be cultured. Standard microbiological techniques (growth on Baird-Parker agar plates and a positive coagulase test) 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 (methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus). This test is important as MRSA organisms are resistant to many antibiotics usually prescribed for staph infections.
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