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Staphylococci are hardy aerobic bacteria that are present in the environment and as normal flora of humans and animals. They are resistant to heat and drying and may be recovered from the environment months after contamination. These organisms are gram-positive cocci that grow in characteristic grapelike clusters. Staphylococci are distinguished from streptococci by a positive catalase (H2O2) test. Species are classified as Staphylococcus aureus if they are coagulase-positive or as one of many species of coagulase-negative staphylococci (eg, S epidermidis, S saprophyticus). S aureus is the most common cause of pyogenic infection of the skin; it also may cause osteomyelitis, septic arthritis, wound infection, abscess, pneumonia, empyema, endocarditis, pericarditis, meningitis, and toxin-mediated diseases, including food poisoning, staphylococcal scarlet fever, scalded skin syndrome, and toxic shock syndrome (TSS). Coagulase-negative staphylococci tend to be less pathogenic unless a...

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