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Clinical manifestations of Staphylococcus aureus infection in adults

Thomas Holland, MD
Vance G Fowler, Jr, MD
Section Editor
Daniel J Sexton, MD
Deputy Editor
Elinor L Baron, MD, DTMH


Staphylococcus aureus is an important pathogen responsible for a broad range of clinical manifestations ranging from relatively benign skin infections to life-threatening conditions such as endocarditis and osteomyelitis. It is also a commensal bacterium (colonizing approximately 30 percent of the human population).

Two major shifts in S. aureus epidemiology have occurred since the 1990s: an epidemic of community-associated skin and soft tissue infections (largely driven by specific methicillin-resistant S. aureus [MRSA] strains), and an increase in the number of healthcare-associated infections (especially infective endocarditis and prosthetic device infections).

The clinical manifestations of S. aureus infection will be reviewed here. The clinical approach to S. aureus bacteremia is discussed separately. (See "Clinical approach to Staphylococcus aureus bacteremia in adults".)

Issues related to MRSA are also discussed separately. (See "Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in adults: Epidemiology" and "Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in adults: Treatment of skin and soft tissue infections" and "Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in adults: Treatment of bacteremia".)


Skin and soft tissue infection — Skin and soft tissue infections due to S. aureus include:

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Sep 22, 2017.
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