Infections of foreign devices within the body
- Intravenous catheters
- Hemodialysis shunts and grafts
- Cerebrospinal fluid shunts (VP shunts)
- Peritoneal dialysis catheters
- Pacemaker wires and electrodes
- Prosthetic joints
- Vascular grafts
- Prosthetic cardiac valves
Infections in immunocompromised children
Infections of heart valves
Appearance (under a microscope)
Gram-positive cocci in clusters (like a cluster of purple grapes!)
Habitat and Transmission
- Staphylococcus epidermidis is found on th skin and mucous membranes of healthy children without symptoms. This bacteria can spread to the bloodstream when a child is immunocompromised or when a medical device is left within the body (i.e., a central venous catheter)
- All children have varying degrees of Staphylococcus epidermidis and similar bacteria on the skin, therefore contagiousness is not important.
Weapons and defenses
- Contain the "plans" (plasmid DNA) for resistance to multiple antibiotics. In some cases, these plans can be transmitted to other bacteria types (like Staphylococcus aureus).
- Forms "biofilms." Can attach to medical devices and form a layer of bacterial cells that is difficult to defeat with antibiotics.
- Cell wall components protect the bacteria like a shield and prevent destruction by antibiotics and white blood cells
- Has developed ways to resist the effects of many antibiotics.
- Staphylococcus epidermidis is typically a weak pathogen (disease-causing thing).
- It typically requires a weak immune system or a implanted medical device to cause infection.
- Despite increasing bacterial resistance, antibiotics are available that treat Staphylococcus epidermidis infections.
Photo - This colorized version of PHIL 259, depicts a scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of two Staphylococcus epidermidis bacteria. CDC/ Segrid McAllister. Janice Carr. Used with permission.
Last Updated (Monday, 29 June 2009 18:48)