Staphylococcus aureus is an extraordinarily versatile pathogen, colonizing distinct ecological niches and causing a wide spectrum of mild to severe, life-threatening infections in humans as well as economically important infections in animals. In addition to superficial lesions and systemic infections, S. aureus is responsible for toxin-mediated diseases, such as toxic shock syndrome (TSS), staphylococcal food poisoning (SFP), and staphylococcal scalded-skin syndrome (SSSS). The virulence factors causing toxicosis are members of the family of bacterial pyrogenic toxin superantigens (PTSAgs) comprising the TSS-causing toxic shock syndrome toxins (TSST) and the staphylococcal enterotoxins (SEs) producing the food-borne illness. In addition, PTSAgs have been strongly implicated in other acute (e.g., Kawasaki syndrome) and chronic diseases, such as atopic dermatitis. Furthermore, the exfoliative toxins (ETs)—also known as epidermolytic toxins—cause SSSS (also known as pemphigus neonatorum and ''Ritter's disease'').
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