Facts about Staphylococcus

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Medical Scientist ABIMBOLA ADEKOYA traces the misconception over Staphylococcus and concludes that there may be more to impotence than the infection.

I WENT to the bank to see my close friend and to collect the little money I had there. The Operation Manager, Dele who was my classmate, was sitting at a corner wearing a disturbing look. I was serious to know why he was depressed and what was making him to be unusually sober. His response was that “you, who is a medical laboratory scientist should explain to me what we can do in this country to get rid of epidemic of a new disease called Staphylococcus which has rendered many impotent” He handed over to me an evening paper to back up his claim. The headlines on pages read: Flush out your Staphylococcus with Herbs. Your Staphylococcus and impotence have solution. Beware Staphylococcus disease could render you infertile. Your vaginal discharge and bareness may be due to Staphylococcus.

This event brought to my memory the incidence of a patient that came to our laboratory who confessed that he has been pronounced to be sterile by his native healers. The semen of the patient was analysed and cultured and the report showed that though the man was infected with mixed organisms but antibiotic sensitivity was able to bail him out of the mess. The result was sent to a Medical Doctor who prescribed drugs and advised him on the psychological implication the fear of being impotent might cause him.  After some time he came back to give testimony that his wife was expecting the fruit of the womb.

As a medical laboratory scientist I traced the origin of this misconception on staphylococcus to the inability of these traditional healers to interpret the laboratory result very well. They are not well read to know the clinical significant of the staphylococcus in many samples sent for laboratory investigations.

However, it is pertinent to note that the staphylococcus is not a disease but its infection in human body results into various diseases. Staphylococcus therefore, is a bacterium that consists of cluster forming gram positive cocci. It is important because it includes common and versatile pathogenic species e.g. Staphylococcus  Aureus. The staphylococcus is the wide range of different kind of major and minor pyogenic infections and also occurs harmlessly as a commensal parasite in the 20 to 30 percent of persons [“carriers”].  Other staphylococcus called staphylococcus albus are harmless commensal that grow on the whole surface of the skin, in the nostril and mouth of all persons throughout their life , but they occasionally act as opportunistic pathogens in persons with defective antimicrobial defence  e.g. damaged heart valves or urinary tract abnormalities.

Staphylococcus aureus is the cause of widely variety of acute suppurative infections. Some of these like boils are almost exclusively due to it but other like wound infection may also be caused by other pyogenic bacteria. Some of the infections caused by this organism are absesses, impetigo, burns, conjunctivitis especially of the newborn,  septicameria, endocarditis, mastitis ( inflammation of breast). Besides, staphylococcus albus is commonly implicated in urinary tract infection. It is not possible to rule out the isolation of staphylococcus from seminal fluid (sperm) but all the problem of infertility should not be dropped at the doorstep of this organism as there are many factors that can lead to infertility. At this point ,  the line of demarcation should  be drawn between infertility , which is inability to produce    healthy sperm cells and impotence which  is inability to perform  the sexual act owing to failure of the  reflect mechanism.

Functional impotence in the healthy and fully matured male invariably is due to psychological causes.  While the organic impotence may be due to disease or abnormality of development.  E.g.   extreme hypospadias, infantilism  .  

The good news is that unlike AIDS, staphylococcus infection has cure. The organism is sensitive or can be cured by a wide variety of antibiotic. The results from the laboratory should always be taken to qualified personnel for proper interpretation. Without  a shadow of doubt , it is good to point out that the contribution of the native healers cannot be underestimated but they should endeavor to seek for more scientific approach to problem in order to prevent future dissemination of information that can raise unnecessary alarm.

Government   through the ministry of Health should organise seminars to enlighten these groups of people on the best scientific approaches to different medical problems. Also government should make healthcare delivery less expensive so that it will be within the reach of common men.

Lastly, our people should remember the words of Arthur Schopenhaner   that the greatest mistake a man can make is to sacrifice his health for any other advantages. They should always seek for advice from qualified medical personnel. They should also know that their “impotent,”   sterility and discharge may be cured in those hospitals close to their houses. There may be more to their impotence than staphylococcus.


Adekoya Abimbola Julius

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