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Staphylococcus epidermidis: what is it, symptoms and treatment

He Staphylococcus epidermidisO S. epidermidis, is a gram positive bacterium that is naturally present on the skin, forming part of the normal microbiota of the body surface, without causing damage to the organism. This microorganism is considered an opportunistic agent, as it is capable of causing diseases when the immune system is weakened, for example.

Because it is naturally present in the body, it Staphylococcus epidermidis It is not very considered in clinical practice, and that most of the times that is isolated in the laboratory, means a contamination of the sample. However, this microorganism is able to easily grow in medical devices, in addition, there is information that shows that it is resistant to several antibiotics, which makes it difficult to treat the infection.

How to identify the infection by S. epidermidis

The main type of infection by S. epidermidis, it is sepsis, which corresponds to a generalized infection that spreads throughout the body through the blood stream, and that this bacteria can easily enter the body, especially when the immune system is compromised, in addition, it is associated with other diseases such as endocarditis . Asimism, infection by S. epidermidis, if you can identify through the analysis of the symptoms, including the main ones:



  • high fever;
  • Excessive tiredness;
  • Headache;
  • General malaise;
  • Decreased blood pressure;
  • Lack of air or difficulty breathing.

He S. epidermidis It is usually associated with infections in the hospital environment, due to its ability to colonize in intravascular devices during insertion, large heridases and prostheses, for example, being able to proliferate and resist treatment.

How to make the diagnosis

In the laboratory, the identification of this bacterium is carried out by means of blood cells, being mainly the blood line of the coagulasa, which distinguishes between S. epidermidis del Staphylococcus aureus. He S. epidermidis It lacks this enzyme, and therefore it is a negative coagulase, which is considered to be a negative coagulase staphylococci of greater clinical importance, and which is associated with sample contamination, opportunistic infections and colonization of medical devices.

In order to differentiate from other coagulase-negative staphylococci species, in general, it is necessary to test for novobiocin, which is carried out with the aim of verifying resistance or sensitivity to this antibiotic. He S. epidermidis normally, they are sensible to this antibiotic, being by the general, the treatment indicated by the doctor. However, there are strains of S. epidermidis which has a resistance mechanism against this antibiotic, making treatment difficult.

Many times the presence of S. epidermidis en la sangre, does not necessarily mean infection, since it is found in the skin during the process of collecting the blood sample, you can enter the bacteria into the circulation, considering that it is contaminated in most cases. Therefore, the diagnosis of infection by S. epidermidis Based on the analysis of one or more blood cultures, they are usually collected in different places to avoid false results.



Asimismo, the diagnosis of infection by S. epidermidis if confirms when all blood cultures are positive for this microorganism. When solo uno de los hemocultivos is positive for S. epidermidis, and the others are positive for another microorganism, it is considered contamination.

what is S. epidermidis resistant

The menudo the contamination of the sample by S. epidermidis It is misinterpreted by the laboratories, and it is reported as an infection in the results of the examination, when the doctor indicates the use of antibiotics against the “infection”. The inappropriate use of antibiotics can favor the formation of resistant bacteria, making treatment difficult.

Currently, the infection S. epidermidis It has been frequent in hospitalized patients, and because of that, it has gained clinical importance in the soil for the indiscriminate use of antibiotics, as well as for its ability to form biofilms in medical equipment, favoring the proliferation of this bacteria and resistance to treatments.

How is the treatment performed?

The treatment for infection by Staphylococcus epidermidis, in general, it is carried out with the use of antibiotics, however, the antimicrobial of choice varies according to the characteristics of the bacteria, since many have a resistance mechanism. Therefore, the use of Vancomycin and Rifampicin, for example, can be recommended by the doctor.

In addition, the treatment for him S. epidermidis soil is indicated when the infection is confirmed. In the event of a sample contamination suspicion, new samples are collected to verify if there is contamination or an infection.

In the case of colonization of catheters or prosthesis by S. epidermidis, It is usually recommended to change the medical device. Currently, some hospitals adopt the use of antiseptic equipment, which prevents the formation of biofilms and the development of Staphylococcus epidermidis avoiding the infection.

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Consult a Doctor | Translated by User2937

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