Bacteria can cause pain on their own (Science News)

Conventional wisdom says that pain from bacterial infections is caused by the immune response to the infection, which releases pain causing molecules. However, new research shows that Staph auerus can stimulate pain-sensing nerve cells on their own, meaning the bacteria themselves cause the pain, rather than the immune response! Surprisingly, this stimulation of the nerve cells also tamps down the immune response to the infection, perhaps allowing S. aureus to evade detection. It remains to be seen how widespread this phenomenon is among bacterial pathogens.