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J Hosp Infect. 2011 Nov;79(3):189-93. doi: 10.1016/j.jhin.2011.04.028. Epub 2011 Jul 7.

Community-associated meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus strains as a cause of healthcare-associated infection.

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Directorate of Infection, King's College London and Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK.


Community-associated meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) was first noticed as a cause of infection in community-based individuals without healthcare contact. As the global epidemic of CA-MRSA has continued, CA-MRSA strain types have begun to emerge as a cause of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) and hospital outbreaks have occurred worldwide. In areas where CA-MRSA clones have become established with high prevalence, for example USA300 (ST8-IV) in the USA, CA-MRSA are beginning to supplant or overtake traditional healthcare-associated MRSA strains as causes of HAI. The emergence of CA-MRSA as a cause of HAI puts a wider group of hospitalised patients, healthcare workers and their community contacts potentially at risk of MRSA infection. It also exposes CA-MRSA strains to the selective pressure of antibiotic use in hospitals, potentially resulting in increased antibiotic resistance, challenges traditional definitions of CA-MRSA and hampers control efforts due to the constant re-introduction of MRSA from an emerging community reservoir. There is thus an urgent need to clarify the definitions, prevalence and epidemiology of CA-MRSA and to develop systems for the identification and control of these organisms in the community, in hospitals and other healthcare facilities, and at the community-hospital interface.

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