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Boils are caused by an infection of the hair follicles with the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus.

Most people with boils are otherwise healthy and have good personal hygiene.

They do however carry Staphylococcus aureus on the surface of their skins (Staphylococcus carrier state).

Why this occurs is usually not known, but it is estimated that 10 - 20% of the population are Staphylococcus carriers.

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