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Staph Can Be Hidden Deep Inside Nose, Study Finds

Update Date: Dec 12, 2013 09:47 AM EST

Previously overlooked sites deep inside the nose might be the reservoirs for a major bacterial cause of disease, study finds.

The bacteria that causes disease, known as Staphylococcus aureus, has also inverse relationship between its presence and with a different bacterial species Corynebacterium pseudodiphtheriticum. The study pointed hat these two organisms competed with each other and in some cases C. pseudodiphtheriticum might be useful in countering the S. aureus infections.

“About one-third of all people are persistent S. aureus carriers, another third are occasional carriers and a remaining third don’t seem to carry S. aureus at all,” said David Relman, MD, the Thomas C. and Joan M. Merigan Professor and a professor of medicine and of microbiology and immunology in the press release.

Researchers also found that the bug abounded the skin with a special affinity for the armpits and groin. “The nose has been long known to be a primary reservoir of S. aureus,” Relman added.

S. aureus can be life threatening too by getting into bloodstream and can cause problems like sepsis, pneumonia or infection of heart valves.

“Not everyone who carries S. aureus gets sick,” Relman said in the press release. “When they’re out walking the streets and otherwise healthy, attempts to rid them of their S. aureus are not necessary, and even sometimes futile. But once a carrier enters a hospital with an underlying illness or a weakened immune system or a high likelihood of undergoing skin-penetrating procedures, S. aureus carriage is a major liability.”

The study has offered a possible reason of why S. aureus take weeks or months after an elimination to repopulate on those who are susceptible.

The results of the study are published in Cell Host & Microbe.

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