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CDC/ Rodney M. Donlan, Ph.D.; Janice Carr

Staphylococcus aureus, often referred to simply as "staph," are bacteria commonly carried on the skin, or in the nose of healthy people. Approximately 25% to 30% of the population is colonized, i.e., when bacteria are present, but not causing an infection, in the nose with staph bacteria.

Sometimes, staph can cause an infection. Staph bacteria are one of the most common causes of skin infections in the United States. Most of these skin infections are minor such as pimples and boils, and can be treated without antibiotics, which are also known as antimicrobials or antibacterials. However, staph bacteria also can cause serious infections such as surgical wound infections, bloodstream infections, and pneumonia.

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