Staphylococci are clusters of cocci bacteria1 that are also sphere-shaped. Staphylococci are often found on skin or in the nose and usually don’t cause problems7. The bacteria may lead to minor skin infections, such as boils and impetigo. If staph bacteria are ingested, they can cause food poisoning. If, however, the bacteria get into the bloodstream, urinary tract, lung or heart, they can lead to serious health problems, such as blood poisoning and toxic shock syndrome.
One of the biggest concerns when it comes to staphylococci is when people are infected with methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), because it is antibiotic-resistant. People in hospitals and other health care facilities are more susceptible to MRSA. This is known as health care-associated MRSA, or HA-MRSA8.
Healthy people can also contract MRSA. This form of the disease is called community-associated MRSA, CA-MRSA, and it frequently starts with a painful boil on the skin and is spread by skin-to-skin contact8. Certain groups, such as kids on high school wrestling teams, daycare workers and those who live in populated conditions, are more at risk for contracting CA-MRSA.