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Coagulase negative staphylococci (CoNS) species such as Staphylococcus epidermidis and Staphylococcus hemolyticus are commonly found on the skin and the mucous membranes of many individuals 1. CoNS is a common contaminant of the artificial valves, joints, pacemakers and central nervous system shunts and can cause blood, heart, brain, bone and eye infections. Antibiotics are the drugs of choice to treat CoNS infections.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
According to the John Hopkins Point of Care Information Technology Center, more than 80 percent of the strains of CoNS produce an enzyme called beta lactamase that makes them resistant to methicillin and oxacillin. Vancomycin, telavancin, linezolid and daptomycin are the most common antibiotics used to treat infections caused by CoNS. Rifampin and gentamicin may be added to the regimen to prevent antibiotic resistance. The John Hopkins Point of Care Information Technology Center also states that single antibiotic regimens are often ineffective to treat CoNS urinary tract infections and a combination of drugs should be used. Also, if the laboratory tests reveal that the strain of CoNS is methicillin sensitive, then oxacillin, ciprofloxacin and trimethoprim/ sulfamethoxazole can be used for the treatment.
To treat most invasive CoNS infections, the antibiotics are administered intravenously for at least 6 to 48 hours to control the infection. This can be followed by oral administration of the antibiotics for 2 to 4 weeks for complete cure. Superficial infections, such as those of skin, can be treated with oral antibiotics for 7 to 14 days. Common side effects for most antibiotics include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and loss of appetite.
Many invasive CoNS infections can cause fever, and anti-pyretics are drugs that can be used to bring down the body temperature. Acetaminophen, ibuprofen and aspirin are the common anti-pyretics that are available in the pharmacy without prescription and can be taken as and when required. In case of severe infections, these drugs may administered intravenously at the hospital. Most anti-pyretics are safe if the dosage directions are followed properly. However, according to MayoClinic.com, some drugs such as aspirin should not be given to children younger that 18 years of age due to the risk of a serious side effect known as Reye's syndrome that can cause swelling of liver and brain 2.
Drinking large amounts of fluids is a natural way of speeding up the recovery from many infections including those caused by CoNS. The large amounts of fluids help improve blood circulation, thereby improve the functioning of the immune system. Fluids also help flush out bacteria in the urinary tract. Fluids are also used to treat low blood pressure and shock that are associated with CoNS infections of the bloodstream. Fluids can be administered intravenously to seriously ill patients using hypodermic needles and intravenous bags.
Surgery and other invasive procedures may be required to treat severe CoNS infections, especially if the antibiotic therapy is not effective. Removal of the contaminated catheters or stunts is recommended. Surgical drainage of the infection or the removal of the infected tissue may be required to treat CoNS infections of prosthetic valves. An article published in the June 2007 edition of the Journal of Clinical Microbiology describes several cases of CoNS eye infections that required pars plana vitrectomy, or group of eye surgeries, to treat the infection.
- John Hopkins POC-IT Center: Staphylococci, Coagulase negative
- MayoClinic.com: Reye's Syndrome
- "Journal of Clinical Microbiology"; Acute Postoperative Endophthalmitis Caused by Staphylococcus lugdunensis; C. Chiquet et al; June 2007
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