, Volume 34, Issue 2, pp 181-184
Date: 27 Jan 2012

Staphylococcus aureus: an introduction

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Shortly after finishing his undergraduate studies at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland and embarking on his career as a surgeon, Alexander Ogston presented in 1880 at the Ninth Surgical Congress in Berlin his work establishing the causative role of bacteria in wound infection and subsequent septicemia. Building on the teachings of his senior contemporaries, Louis Pasteur and Joseph Lister, Ogston had observed pus from 88 human abscesses under his microscope and noted Gram-positive spherical “micrococci” [1]. Taking from the Greek word for “bunches of grapes,” he named the organism Staphylococcus. After injecting the isolated bacteria into healthy guinea pigs and mice and recreating the abscesses from which the isolates were derived, he had conclusively introduced the world to the infectious agent, now known as Staphylococcus aureus due to its golden color in culture, that continues to burden human health today [1].

For decades, treatment options were limited to the topical applicat ...