Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus: a community health threat

Postgrad Med. 2010 Nov;122(6):16-23. doi: 10.3810/pgm.2010.11.2218.


Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), one of the most common causes of infections, has been traditionally recognized as a nosocomial pathogen. However, in recent years, its epidemiology has radically changed, being now observed even more frequently in the community, and accounting for > 50% of staphylococcal infections in the US outpatient setting. Community-acquired (CA)-MRSA strains typically cause infections among otherwise healthy individuals, with risk factors differing from those of nosocomial MRSA. The clinical manifestations may range from a furuncle to life-threatening infections, such as necrotizing fasciitis and pneumonia. The antibiotic treatment of these infections may also differ because CA-MRSA strains often retain susceptibility to antimicrobials other than glycopeptides and newer agents. Moreover, the production of toxins, such as the Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL), should influence the antibiotic choice because in these cases the use of a combination therapy with antimicrobial agents able to decrease toxin production is suggested. There are still many unanswered key questions regarding the epidemiology, prevention, and treatment of CA-MRSA infections. This article reviews current knowledge of CA-MRSA.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Community-Acquired Infections / drug therapy
  • Community-Acquired Infections / epidemiology
  • Community-Acquired Infections / microbiology
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial
  • Drug Resistance, Multiple, Bacterial
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Methicillin Resistance*
  • Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus / drug effects*
  • Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus / isolation & purification
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Assessment
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Staphylococcal Infections / diagnosis
  • Staphylococcal Infections / drug therapy*
  • Staphylococcal Infections / epidemiology*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents