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Infection. 1990 Jan-Feb;18(1):53-6.

Clinical significance of Staphylococcus aureus in cystic fibrosis.

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Memorial Miller Children's Hospital, Memorial Health Services, Long Beach, California.


Staphylococcus aureus is usually the first bacterial pathogen detected in the respiratory secretions of patients with cystic fibrosis. This review briefly examines the characteristics of this host-parasite relationship in terms of current knowledge about the toxicity of the organism, mechanisms of respiratory tract injury, therapy and prevention. Recent evidence indicates that viral infection plays a role in the initial damage of the respiratory epithelial cells and staphylococcal colonization ensues. Affinity of staphylococcus for cystic fibrosis mucus, mucociliary abnormalities and unknown factors contribute to persistent colonization with this organism causing progressive pulmonary damage and possibly influencing Pseudomonas infection. Most of the evidence today indicates that aggressive antibiotic management directed against S. aureus is warranted in all stages of bronchopulmonary infection in cystic fibrosis. Future efforts to prevent colonization and the toxic and immunopathic consequences of staphylococcal infection are also important. One study is in progress that examines antibiotic prevention in the early stages of cystic fibrosis. Future investigations need to address other strategies including vaccines, antitoxins, anti-inflammatory agents, immunomodulators, and antibiotic regimens.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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