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Int J Antimicrob Agents. 2012 Apr;39(4):273-82. doi: 10.1016/j.ijantimicag.2011.09.030. Epub 2012 Jan 9.

Meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA): global epidemiology and harmonisation of typing methods.

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1
Department of Bio-Medical Sciences, Section of Microbiology, University of Catania, Via Androne 81, 95124 Catania, Italy. stefanis@unict.it

Abstract

This article reviews recent findings on the global epidemiology of healthcare-acquired/associated (HA), community-acquired/associated (CA) and livestock-associated (LA) meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and aims to reach a consensus regarding the harmonisation of typing methods for MRSA. MRSA rates continue to increase rapidly in many regions and there is a dynamic spread of strains across the globe. HA-MRSA is currently endemic in hospitals in most regions. CA-MRSA clones have been spreading rapidly in the community and also infiltrating healthcare in many regions worldwide. To date, LA-MRSA is only prevalent in certain high-risk groups of workers in direct contact with live animals. CA-MRSA and LA-MRSA have become a challenge for countries that have so far maintained low rates of MRSA. These evolutionary changes have resulted in MRSA continuing to be a major threat to public health. Continuous efforts to understand the changing epidemiology of S. aureus infection in humans and animals are therefore necessary, not only for appropriate antimicrobial treatment and effective infection control but also to monitor the evolution of the species. The group made several consensus decisions with regard to harmonisation of typing methods. A stratified, three-level organisation of testing laboratories was proposed: local; regional; and national. The functions of, and testing methodology used by, each laboratory were defined. The group consensus was to recommend spa and staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec (SCCmec) typing as the preferred methods. Both are informative in defining particular strain characteristics and utilise standardised nomenclatures, making them applicable globally. Effective communication between each of the different levels and between national centres was viewed as being crucial to inform and monitor the molecular epidemiology of MRSA at national and international levels.

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