Staphylococcus vs. Streptococcus

The main difference between Staphylococcus and Streptococcus is that Staphylococcus is found in the form of grape-like clusters while streptococcus is found in the form of a chain of rounded shaped cells.

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Staphylococcus vs. Streptococcus

Staphylococcus and streptococcus both are the types of gram-positive bacteria. Both are the pathogens for the human body. There are many differences in the characteristics of both organisms. Staphylococcus is arranged in the clusters resembling grapes while streptococcus is found in the form of a linear chain of rounded shaped cells. Since they are arranged in multiple directions, staphylococcus divide in multiple directions. Streptococcus are present in a linear manner, so they divide in a single axis.

The number of species of staphylococcus is 40 till now while the for Streptococcus, 50 species have been identified till now.
Staphylococcus do not need enriched media for their growth while streptococcus needs enriched media for their growth.

Catalase test is positive for staphylococcus while negative for streptococcus. Catalase is an enzyme whose function is to convert hydrogen peroxide to oxygen and water. Staphylococci are normally found on the skin while streptococci are found in the upper and lower respiratory tract. In Staphylococcus, beta hemolysis takes place while in Streptococcus, both alpha and beta hemolysis takes place.

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Diseases caused by staphylococci are bacterial conjunctivitis (inflammation of the conjunctiva of the eye), food poisoning, skin diseases, meningitis, infection at wound or surgical incision site, cellulitis, impetigo, and toxic shock syndrome. Diseases caused by streptococci are flesh-eating disease, septicemia, pneumonia, meningitis, rheumatic fever, and other respiratory tract infections.

Investigations for the confirmation of staphylococci are coagulase test, catalase test, and novobiocin sensitivity test. While the tests for the confirmation of streptococcus are optochin sensitivity test, bile solubility test, catalase test, bacitracin test, CAMP test and test for hemolysis.

Comparison Chart

Basis Staphylococcus Streptococcus
Definition They are gram-positive bacteria which are arranged in the form of clusters resembling grapes.They are gram-positive round-shaped bacteria which arranged in the form of chains in a linear fashion.
Division Their division occurs in multiple directions because of their irregular arrangement.Their division takes place in one direction because they are arranged in a linear manner.
Catalase test This test is positive for them. Enzyme catalase converts H2O2 to water and oxygen.This test is negative for them.
Normally present Normally they are found on the skin.Normally they are found in the upper and lower respiratory tract.
Requirement of medium Staphylococci do not require nutrients rich medium for their growth.Streptococcus always needs nutrients rich medium for their normal growth.
Species identified yet Their forty species have been discovered till nowTheir 50 species have been discovered till now.
Coagulase enzyme Some species have the ability to produce coagulase enzyme which causes the clotting of blood.Coagulase enzyme is not produced by streptococci species.
Common symptoms of infection The common symptoms of infection with staph is skin redness, itching, swelling, pus formation in boil or furuncle.The common symptoms of infection with streptococcus is shortness of breath, chest congestion, wheezing, coughing and sneezing.
Common diseases Common diseases are itching and redness in eyes (conjunctivitis) , meningitis, encephalitis, wound infection or infection at the surgical incision site, cellulitis, impetigo, and toxic shock syndrome.Common diseases are sore throat, pneumonia, glomerulonephritis, rheumatic fever, scarlet fever, blood infection, encephalitis, and meningitis.
Treatment Infection is treated by antibiotics like cephalosporin, vancomycin, penicillin, ceftriaxone, fluoroquinolones.Their infection is also treated by antibiotics like vancomycin, penicillin, cephalosporin, ceftriaxone, and fluoroquinolones.
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What are Staphylococci?

Staphylococci are gram-positive bacteria which are round in shape and arranged in the form of clusters resembling grapes. Since they are arranged in multiple directions, their division also takes place in multiple directions. They have the ability to produce catalase enzyme, the enzyme which converts H2O2 in oxygen and water. Some of the species of staph also have coagulase enzyme; this enzyme causes the coagulation of blood.

Normally these bacteria are present on the surface of the skin, and thus, they are important causative agents in skin infections, like a boil, furuncles, cellulitis. The common symptoms of infection with staph are skin redness, swelling, itching, and pus formation. They also cause wound infections and infection at the surgical incision site. Other diseases caused by staph are arthritis, meningitis, encephalitis, infective endocarditis, and toxic shock syndrome. They do not cause alpha hemolysis but some species cause beta hemolysis. They cause infection by endotoxin production and hence cause toxemia (infection in the blood). They do not need nutrient enriched media for their growth. The infection is treated by traditional antibiotics.

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What are streptococci?

Streptococci are also gram-positive bacteria which are of a round shape and arranged in the form of chains in a linear fashion. Hence they are arranged in unidirectional; their division also occurs in a single dimension. Almost fifty species of streptococci have been identified till now. Normally they are found in the upper and lower respiratory tract, so the common symptoms of their infection are chest tightness, congestion, shortness of breath, chest pain, wheezing, coughing and sneezing. 

Other diseases caused by them are rheumatic fever, pneumonia, meningitis, encephalitis, kidney infections, and endocarditis. They do not produce catalase and coagulase enzymes; hence they do not have the ability of blood coagulation. They have the ability to cause alpha or beta hemolysis. The infection with streptococci is treated with traditional antibiotics.

Key differences

  1. Staphylococci are arranged in the form of clusters resembling grapes while streptococci are arranged in a linear chain fashion.
  2. Staphylococci have coagulase and catalase enzymes while streptococci do not have.
  3. Staphylococci divide in multiple directions while streptococci divide in single direction.
  4. Normally, staphylococci are found on the skin while streptococci are found in the upper and lower respiratory tract.

Conclusion

Staphylococci and streptococci are the types of gram-positive bacteria. Although both have some similar features, they have many differences in them. It is important for medical students to know the differences between them. In the above article, we learned the clear differences between staphylococci and streptococci.

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