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Postgrad Med. 2001 Oct;110(4):43-8; quiz 11.

Containing methicillin-resistant S aureus. Surveillance, control, and treatment methods.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology, Sunnybrook and Women's College Health Sciences Centre, Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine, Canada.


In the past two decades, the prevalence of MRSA has increased in healthcare facilities in many countries around the world. The organism, which has caused nosocomial outbreaks, also has become endemic in many hospitals and long-term care facilities. Recently, reports of community-acquired MRSA in persons without known risk factors for the organism have been increasing. Transmission occurs primarily from colonized or infected patients to others through the hands of healthcare personnel. MRSA infection may be life-threatening and cause considerable morbidity, the need for prolonged hospitalization, and increased costs. Treatment options are limited because organisms are typically resistant to multiple antibiotics, but newer agents are being developed. However, there is also reason for concern about the recent emergence of MRSA resistant to glycopeptides, such as vancomycin. Efforts to limit the spread of MRSA should include surveillance and control measures, such as adequate hand hygiene and appropriate contact isolation or barrier precautions.

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