Waves of Resistance: Staphylococcus Aureus in the Antibiotic Era

Nat Rev Microbiol. 2009 Sep;7(9):629-41. doi: 10.1038/nrmicro2200.

Abstract

Staphylococcus aureus is notorious for its ability to become resistant to antibiotics. Infections that are caused by antibiotic-resistant strains often occur in epidemic waves that are initiated by one or a few successful clones. Methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) features prominently in these epidemics. Historically associated with hospitals and other health care settings, MRSA has now emerged as a widespread cause of community infections. Community or community-associated MRSA (CA-MRSA) can spread rapidly among healthy individuals. Outbreaks of CA-MRSA infections have been reported worldwide, and CA-MRSA strains are now epidemic in the United States. Here, we review the molecular epidemiology of the epidemic waves of penicillin- and methicillin-resistant strains of S. aureus that have occurred since 1940, with a focus on the clinical and molecular epidemiology of CA-MRSA.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Community-Acquired Infections / epidemiology
  • Community-Acquired Infections / microbiology
  • Cross Infection / epidemiology
  • Cross Infection / microbiology
  • Disease Outbreaks
  • Humans
  • Methicillin Resistance*
  • Molecular Epidemiology
  • Penicillin Resistance*
  • Staphylococcal Infections / epidemiology
  • Staphylococcal Infections / microbiology
  • Staphylococcus aureus / drug effects*
  • Staphylococcus aureus / isolation & purification

Substances

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents