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Staphylococcus epidermidis

Staphylococcus epidermidis is a Gram-positive, sphere-shaped bacterium from the genus Staphylococcus.

Because of its ability to form biofilm and settle on implanted objects, Staphylococcus epidermidis frequently causes nosocomial infections. The disease patterns include:

  • Urinary tract infections

  • Wound infections

  • Phlegmon (inflammation of the lower layers of the skin)

  • Endocarditis (inflammation of the inner lining of the heart)

  • Osteomyelitis (inflammation of the bone marrow)

  • Sepsis

Staphylococcus epidermidis colonizes the human skin and mucosa, as well as the surfaces of medical devices. It is also found in contaminated food.

Relevance of pathogen in transmission in endoscopy

  • Gastroenterology: Low

  • Pulmonology: Low

  • Ear, nose, and throat: Not relevant

  • Urology: High

Relevance for endoscope surveillance

  • High concern organism

Transmission route

The pathogen is transmitted nosocomially, via endogenous infections, and via contaminated food.

Resistance to antibiotics

Staphylococcus epidermidis exhibits resistance to several antibiotics. These include beta-lactams (including methicillin-resistant S. epidermidis [MRSE]).

Further readings

  1. Gries O, Ly T: Infektologie – Kompendium humanpathogener Infektionskrankheiten und Erreger, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg, 2019.

  2. Kovaleva J, Peters FTM, van der Mei HC, Degener JE. Transmission of infection by flexible gastrointestinal endoscopy and bronchoscopy. Clin Microbiol Rev 2013; 26:231–54

  3. Otto M. Staphylococcus epidermidis – the “accidental“ pathogen. Nat Rev Microbiol. 2009 Aug;7(8): 555-567.

  4. Uçkay I et al. Foreign body infections due to Staphylococcus epidermidis. Ann Med 2009; 41(2):109–19.