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November 19, 1960

Hospitalized Patients with Staphylococcus aureus in the Intestine

JAMA. 1960;174(12):1597-1602. doi:10.1001/jama.1960.03030120037008

This study of 243 hospitalized patients with Staphylococcus aureus in the intestine revealed that the symptoms produced by this organism may vary from mild to severe and may disappear with or without specific antibiotic therapy designed to eliminate the organism itself. Staphylococcic enteritis was more likely to occur among postoperative patients who had received antibiotics capable of altering the intestinal bacteria. The same type of Staphylococcus aureus can exist in the intestine and in other sites of the body at the same time. It was noted recently that Staphylococcus aureus isolated from the patient was more and more prone to exhibit resistance to neomycin and to bacitracin, posing problems in preparation of the intestine for operation. Staphylococcic enteritis is readily reversible, while pseudomembranous enterocolitis is usually but not always fatal, regardless of therapy.