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Can J Microbiol. 2010 Feb;56(2):89-120. doi: 10.1139/w09-109.

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in Canada: a historical perspective and lessons learned.

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Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Children's and Women's Health Centre of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.


The history of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in Canada has many similarities to MRSA evolution worldwide, but especially to that in the United States and United Kingdom. Reports of MRSA occurred as early as 1964, and community isolates were cited in the 1970s. Nosocomial outbreaks were becoming common by 1978 and flourished gradually thereafter. Endemic institutional MRSA became predominant in the 1990s, threatening large teaching hospitals in particular. In the last decade, both hospital-acquired and community-acquired MRSA have created major medical problems in Canada. More recently, an epidemic of Canadian community-acquired MRSA-10, has led to heightened public health concerns. Canadian contributions to MRSA science are numerous, with organized surveillance continuing to mature across the nation. A typing system for epidemic clones is now available and is being judiciously applied. Estimated costs for MRSA surveillance, treatment, and control are extraordinary, paralleling the dramatic rise in the number of MRSA isolations. Whereas surveillance continues to form an essential aspect of MRSA management, control, eradication, and overall diminution, MRSA reservoirs deserve much greater attention. Such efforts, however, must be as widely publicized in the community and in patient homes as they are in medical institutions responsible for both acute and long-term care.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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