Coccus is the morphological description used to describe the spherical shape of Staphylococcus epidermidis, explains the National Center for Biotechnology Information. Bacterial morphology is used to designate the shape of bacteria, according to the American Society for Microbiology.
Staphylococcus epidermidis is a commensal organism that lives on the surface of everyone’s skin. It has become a frequent cause of infections in the hospital setting because of the increasing use of catheters on patients. When a catheter is inserted into a patient, Staphylococcus epidermidis from the skin is able to stick to the surface of the catheter and form biofilms, sticky colonic aggregates, according to the Public Library of Science.
As a post-surgical complication, Staphylococcus epidermidis can also spread through the blood stream and cause meningitis. This type of infection can also occur in patients with infections of heart valves, a previous history of meningitis, trauma and past brain infections, according to MedlinePlus.
Symptoms of meningitis usually include neck stiffness, nausea, vomiting, altered mental status, light sensitivity and agitation. It is important to go to the emergency room if these symptoms are present together with the risk factors. Diagnosis is made with blood and cerebrospinal fluid cultures, as well as imaging of the brain. In most cases doctors will not wait for the results of blood cultures to begin antibiotics because they take too long and successful outcomes depend on early treatment, according to MedlinePlus.