New understanding of ‘superantigens’ could lead to improved staph infection treatments

The bacterium Staphylococcus aureus has long been known to cause infections in humans, ranging from mild skin infections to pneumonia to more serious infections of the heart. In high-income countries, it’s the leading cause of a sometimes-fatal condition known as infective endocarditis, involving inflammation of the heart’s valves or lining.

Now, in a new study, researchers at the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine describe another way the bacterium can cause harm: by undermining the body’s ability to heal from those infections.

The findings may point the way toward improving treatment of infections with S. aureus, more commonly called a staph infection.

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