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Colonization

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Updated October 29, 2009

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Definition:

Colonization means the establishment of a colony. In dermatology, colonization occurs when a microorganism, such as a bacteria, establishes a colony on the skin.

The skin is colonized -- not infected -- when the microorganism does not invade the tissue or cause damage to the skin.

Staphylococcus aureus is a common bacteria that can colonize nasal passages.

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