What is Staphylococcus aureus and what symptoms it causes

What is Staphylococcus aureus and what symptoms it causes

With a notice dated 2 August 2022, the Ministry of Health reported the precautionary warning by Gran Guizza S.p.a. of two batches of natural mineral water Fonte Valle Reale due to microbiological risk for Staphylococcus aureus. The bottles affected by the recall, produced in the Valle Reale plant in Popoli, in the province of Pescara, are the 1.5-liter PET formats of Fonte Valle Reale natural mineral water (lot 10LB2202A with production on 21/07 and lot 08LB2208A with production 27/07).

As the company informs in a press release, the decision was taken following the sampling carried out at the Popoli production site by the regional agency for environmental protection (Arta ) Abruzzo, which detected, in some finished products, the contamination by Staphylococcus aureus: this is why the company invited not to consume the water belonging to the batches subject to withdrawal, while it reassured consumers about all the other products , guaranteeing its absolute purity.

What are staphylococci Staphylococcus aureus is a bacterium that is part of the family of staphylococci, microorganisms that normally live on the skin, nose, throat and intestines of human beings, without however creating any problems . However, it may happen that some types of staphylococci penetrate into parts of the body where they are not usually found and develop infections, which can sometimes be serious. As reported by the Higher Institute of Health (Iss), staphylococcal infections can be local or deep. Local infections usually affect the skin and cause clinical manifestations such as abscesses, boils, scabs or itchy blisters, acute skin infections that also involve the dermis, sty, so-called "fingertip" (infection involving the extremities of the hand) and infectious cellulitis (acute inflammation of the skin's connective tissues). Deep infections, on the other hand, are also the most serious, involving various organs of the body and causing pneumonia, endocarditis, septic arthritis, osteomyelitis. Then, when they enter the bloodstream, staphylococci can cause a systemic infection (called sepsis or septicemia) which can have very serious results, causing generalized dysfunction to all the organs of the body, which in about 70% of cases proves fatal.

Staphylococcus aureus and food poisoning There are several species of staphylococci which, based on these mechanisms, are capable of causing even serious diseases. In particular, Staphylococcus aureus is the species that causes the highest number of infections in humans and is the most dangerous, as it can be resistant to some antibiotics generally used in hospital contexts; the antibiotic-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, in fact, is responsible for a large part of hospital bacterial infections (as reported by a document produced by the Ministry of Health, about 40%), which are very difficult to cure.

Among the less serious infections caused by Staphylococcus aureus there are also food poisoning, caused by the ingestion of a specific toxin (called enterotoxin) produced by the bacterium itself. Staphylococcus aureus, in fact, is the most frequent cause of food poisoning (food poisoning caused by pathogenic microorganisms): when staphylococci contaminate foods - especially those rich in proteins such as meat, egg products, creams and dairy products - they they produce enterotoxin, which is able to act directly on the stomach and intestines, causing the typical symptoms of food poisoning.

Enterotoxin is very resistant: while staphylococci can be inactivated by the heat resulting from cooking, this molecule also resists high temperatures and autoclaving. The toxin acts rapidly, so symptoms appear shortly after ingestion, from 30 minutes to 6 hours, and include vomiting, abdominal cramps, diarrhea and less frequently fever. Like most food poisoning, symptoms are generally short-lived and the infection heals spontaneously for a minimum of 24-48 hours to a few weeks, but, as it can cause severe dehydration, symptoms and course of the disease should be monitored. br>

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