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J Infect Chemother. 2010 Aug;16(4):225-54. doi: 10.1007/s10156-010-0045-9. Epub 2010 Mar 25.

Community-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus: community transmission, pathogenesis, and drug resistance.

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  • 1Division of Bacteriology, Department of Infectious Disease Control and International Medicine, Niigata University Graduate School of Medical and Dental Sciences, Niigata, Japan. tatsuoy@med.niigata-u.ac.jp


Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is able to persist not only in hospitals (with a high level of antimicrobial agent use) but also in the community (with a low level of antimicrobial agent use). The former is called hospital-acquired MRSA (HA-MRSA) and the latter community-acquired MRSA (CA-MRSA). It is believed MRSA clones are generated from S. aureus through insertion of the staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec (SCCmec), and outbreaks occur as they spread. Several worldwide and regional clones have been identified, and their epidemiological, clinical, and genetic characteristics have been described. CA-MRSA is likely able to survive in the community because of suitable SCCmec types (type IV or V), a clone-specific colonization/infection nature, toxin profiles (including Pantone-Valentine leucocidin, PVL), and narrow drug resistance patterns. CA-MRSA infections are generally seen in healthy children or young athletes, with unexpected cases of diseases, and also in elderly inpatients, occasionally surprising clinicians used to HA-MRSA infections. CA-MRSA spreads within families and close-contact groups or even through public transport, demonstrating transmission cores. Re-infection (including multifocal infection) frequently occurs, if the cores are not sought out and properly eradicated. Recently, attention has been given to CA-MRSA (USA300), which originated in the US, and is growing as HA-MRSA and also as a worldwide clone. CA-MRSA infection in influenza season has increasingly been noted as well. MRSA is also found in farm and companion animals, and has occasionally transferred to humans. As such, the epidemiological, clinical, and genetic behavior of CA-MRSA, a growing threat, is focused on in this study.

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