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Microb Drug Resist. 2000 Fall;6(3):173-88.

Molecular epidemiology of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus strains: state of affairs and tomorrow' s possibilities.

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Erasmus University Medical Center Rotterdam, Department of Medical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases, The Netherlands.


Methicillin-resistant strains of Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) have posed a clinical threat for nearly 40 years. During these years, an array of additional technologies suited for identification of MRSA below the species level has become available. The technologies, whether they assess phenotype or genotype, provide data that can be used for elucidation of the routes of dissemination of individual MRSA types. This review summarizes the current state of affairs with respect to the quality of the various laboratory techniques and includes descriptions of novel strategies such as binary typing and multilocus sequence typing (MLST). Drawbacks of procedures will be compared, and the value of molecular typing in the elucidation of complex biological phenomena, such as epidemicity, carriage, and reduced vancomycin susceptibility, will be indicated. Means for integrated assessment of bacterial biology, epidemiology, and population structure will be discussed.

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