The rapid and deadly method that destroys the body’s defenses against the common bacterial cause of disease, Staphylococcus aureus (staph), has been identified by researchers at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine.
Published online the week of July 19, 2004 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), the study describes the detailed cellular mechanisms by which Staphylococcus aureus protein A, or SpA, spreads within minutes throughout the body to preferentially target specific immune cells, causing those cells to commit suicide, making them unable to stop the staph infection.
Found on the skin and in the noses of healthy people, the staph bacteria is a common cause of minor illnesses such as food poisoning, as well as a major cause of life-threatening blood-borne infections like sepsis, and also serious infections of the bone called osteomyelitis and heart-valve infections called endocarditis. Unfortunately, staph has developed tremendous antibiotic resistance, nd there are no vaccines available.
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