The main difference between Staphylococcus aureus and Staphylococcus epidermidis is that Staphylococcus aureus is a virulent pathogen that infects both hospitalized patients having decreased immunity and healthy immunocompromised individuals, whereas Staphylococcus epidermidis forms biofilms that grow on surgical implants.
S. aureus and S. epidermidis are two types of Staphylococcus bacteria that are Gram-positive. Both bacteria belong to the family Staphylococcaceae of the order Bacillales.
Key Areas Covered
1. What is Staphylococcus aureus
– Definition, Structure, Function
2. What is Staphylococcus epidermidis
– Definition, Structure, Function
3. Similarities Between Staphylococcus aureus and Staphylococcus epidermidis
– Outline of Common Features
4. Difference Between Staphylococcus aureus and Staphylococcus epidermidis
– Comparison of Key Differences
Staphylococcus Aureus, Staphylococcus Epidermidis
What is Staphylococcus Aureus
S. aureus is a Gram-positive, cocci-shaped bacterium that is normally found in the body. It generally occurs in the upper respiratory tract and on the skin. However, it is a major human pathogen that causes a wide variety of diseases. It may become an opportunistic pathogen as it’s a common cause of skin infections like abscesses, respiratory infections like sinusitis, and food poisoning. Infections of S. aureus are common both in community-acquired and hospital-acquired settings. The emergence of multi-drug resistant strains like MRSA (Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus) makes treating these conditions difficult.
Furthermore, S. aureus causes a range of illnesses including impetigo, boils, pimples, scalded skin syndrome, cellulitis, folliculitis, carbuncles, and abscesses. It causes life-threatening illnesses such as osteomyelitis, endocarditis, toxic shock syndrome, bacteremia, sepsis, pneumonia, and meningitis.
What is Staphylococcus Epidermidis
S. epidermidis is a bacterial species that belongs to the genus Staphylococcus. It is part of the skin flora and is also found in the mucous membranes. Generally, S. epidermidis is non-pathogenic. But it becomes an opportunistic pathogen in patients with compromised immune systems. Therefore, S. epidermidis infections are hospital-acquired. It infects patients with catheters or other surgical implants. It also forms biofilms that grow on these devices. After overnight incubation, S. epidermidis forms white, raised, cohesive colonies that are about 1–2 mm in diameter.
Moreover, S. epidermidis forms biofilms that grow on catheters and other surgical implants. Therefore, it causes nosocomial infections, endocarditis, and sepsis.
Similarities Between Staphylococcus Aureus and Staphylococcus Epidermidis
- S. aureus and S. epidermidis are two types of Staphylococcus bacteria.
- They belong to the family Staphylococcaceae of the order Bacillales.
- They are Gram-positive bacteria that are spherical (cocci) shaped, forming grape-like clusters.
- Both are facultative anaerobic bacteria.
- Generally, they reside on the skin and mucous membranes of humans and animals.
- However, they are pathogens that cause nosocomial infections associated with catheters and other medical implants.
Difference Between Staphylococcus Aureus and Staphylococcus Epidermidis
S. aureus refers to one of the most important bacteria that cause disease in humans while S. epidermidis a permanent member of the normal human microbiota.
S. aureus is the most virulent pathogen while S. epidermidis is an innocuous commensal bacterium on human skin.
S. aureus is an opportunistic pathogen that causes infections in hospitalized patients with decreased immunity and healthy immunocompromised individuals while S. epidermidis forms biofilms in surgical implants and infects patients with catheters or other surgical implants.
S. aureus causes impetigo, boils, pimples, scalded skin syndrome, cellulitis, folliculitis, carbuncles, and abscesses, while S. epidermidis causes endocarditis and sepsis.
In brief, S. aureus and S. epidermidis are two types of pathogenic bacteria of the genus Staphylococcus. Generally, they are Gram-positive bacteria that are cocci-shaped. Staphylococcus is facultative anaerobic bacteria. S. aureus is the most virulent bacteria and causes pimples, impetigo, boils, cellulitis, folliculitis, carbuncles, scalded skin syndrome, and abscesses. S. epidermidis, on the other hand, forms biofilms and infects patients with surgical implants. Therefore, the main difference between Staphylococcus aureus and Staphylococcus epidermidis is the type of infections they cause.
- Chessa, Daniela, et al. “Staphylococcus Aureus and Staphylococcus Epidermidis Virulence Strains as Causative Agents of Persistent Infections in Breast Implants.” PloS One, Public Library of Science, 26 Jan. 2016,
- “Staphylococcus aureus VISA 2” By Matthew J. Arduino – Own work (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia
- “1-testoster Staphylococcus epidermidis 01” By Janice Carr – Own Work (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia
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