Health protection – collection

Staphylococcus aureus: guidance, data and analysis

The characteristics, diagnosis, management, surveillance and epidemiology of Staphylococcus aureus.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that commonly colonises human skin and mucosa without causing any problems. It can also cause disease, particularly if there is an opportunity for the bacteria to enter the body, for example through broken skin or a medical procedure.

If the bacteria enter the body, illnesses which range from mild to life-threatening may then develop. These include skin and wound infections, infected eczema, abscesses or joint infections, infections of the heart valves (endocarditis), pneumonia and bacteraemia (blood stream infection).

Most strains of S. aureus are sensitive to the more commonly used antibiotics, and infections can be effectively treated. Some S. aureus bacteria are more resistant. Those resistant to the antibiotic meticillin are termed meticillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and often require different types of antibiotic to treat them. Those that are sensitive to meticillin are termed meticillin susceptible Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA). MRSA and MSSA only differ in their degree of antibiotic resistance: other than that there is no real difference between them.

Diagnosis and management

  1. MRSA: screening and suppression guidance for primary care

    • 18 September 2014
    • Guidance
  2. MRSA: information for patients

    • 1 March 2010
    • Guidance
  3. PVL-Staphylococcus aureus infections: diagnosis and management for primary care

    • 18 May 2008
    • Guidance
  4. Who to screen for MRSA

    • 18 August 2014
    • Guidance
  5. MRSA in patients with renal failure

    • 1 March 2007
    • Guidance

Epidemiology

PHE has carried out mandatory enhanced surveillance of MRSA bacteraemia since October 2005 and of MSSA bacteraemia since January 2011 for NHS acute trusts; patient-level data of any MRSA and MSSA bacteraemias are reported monthly to PHE. Independent sector (IS) healthcare organisations providing regulated activities also undertake surveillance of MRSA and MSSA bacteraemia.

From 1 April 2013, all NHS organisations reporting positive cases of MRSA bacteraemia are required to complete a Post Infection Review (PIR)

  1. MRSA bacteraemia: monthly data by post infection review assignment

    • 5 August 2015
    • Statistics
  2. MRSA bacteraemia: monthly data by attributed clinical commissioning group

    • 5 August 2015
    • Statistics
  3. MRSA bacteraemia: annual data

    • 9 July 2015
    • Statistics
  4. MSSA bacteraemia: monthly data by NHS acute trust

    • 5 August 2015
    • Statistics
  5. MSSA bacteraemia: monthly data by attributed clinical commissioning group

    • 5 August 2015
    • Statistics
  6. MSSA bacteraemia: annual data

    • 9 July 2015
    • Statistics
  7. Staphylococcus aureus: annual trends in voluntary surveillance

    • 14 August 2014
    • Research and analysis
  8. MRSA, MSSA and E. coli bacteraemia and C. difficile infection: annual epidemiological commentary

    • 9 July 2015
    • Statistics
  9. MRSA, MSSA and E. coli bacteraemia and C. difficile infection: quarterly epidemiological commentary

    • 11 June 2015
    • Statistics
  10. MRSA, MSSA and E. coli bacteraemia and Clostridium difficile infection: 6-monthly data for independent sector healthcare organisations

    • 8 April 2015
    • Statistics
  11. MRSA, MSSA and E. coli bacteraemia and Clostridium difficile infection: annual data for independent sector healthcare organisations

    • 7 October 2014
    • Statistics
  12. Pre-release access list: mandatory HCAI statistical releases

    • 7 July 2015
    • Guidance