Scientists Investigate ‘Potentially Deadly Bacterium’ That Is Commonly Found On Your Skin

Alexandra Lozovschi - Author
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Nov. 28 2018, Updated 9:57 a.m. ET

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria have become a serious problem in recent years — particularly given the high prevalence of antibiotic medication misuse or overuse.

According to the Medline Plus magazine published by the National Institutes of Health, 2 million Americans become infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria every year — with at least 23,000 of them losing their lives to untreatable bacterial infections.

Among the most well-known drug-resistant bacteria that can cause life-threatening infections are E. coli and MRSA — a strain of Staphylococcus aureus that is resistant to methicillin, a semisynthetic form of penicillin typically prescribed in the treatment of staph infections.

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However, scientists warn that we should be paying closer attention to another type of staphylococcus as well — one that commonly lives on the human skin and which can pose a great threat to some people, particularly to those who are due to undergo surgery. The bacterium in question is Staphylococcus epidermidis — a MRSA-related organism that exists on the hair and skin, as well as in the mucous membranes of the throat and nose. Said bacterium is part of the normal bacterial flora of the human body, notes Science Direct.

Although this bacterium is typically harmless, some strains of Staphylococcus epidermidis cause disease in certain circumstances — and can lead to life-threatening infections after surgery.

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