Necrotizing fasciitis caused by Staphylococcus aureus: the emergence of methicillin-resistant strains

Ann Plast Surg. 2011 Dec;67(6):632-6. doi: 10.1097/SAP.0b013e31820b372b.


Staphylococcus aureus is an uncommon causative agent of monomicrobial necrotizing fasciitis, but we have noted several cases over the years. The patients treated for necrotizing fasciitis between January 1998 and December 2008 in our institution were identified, and their medical records were reviewed. Of 105 necrotizing fasciitis cases during the study period, 18 were caused by monomicrobial S. aureus infection (17%). The median age was 62 years (range, 12-81 years). Among this cohort, 10 patients had coexisting medical conditions or risk factors, including diabetes and hypertension. Lower limbs and upper limbs are the most commonly involved sites. Among the bacterial isolates from these cases, 8 were methicillin-sensitive S. aureus (MSSA) and 10 were methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA). One patient died in the MSSA group, and 5 patients died in the MRSA group. The mortality rate and other clinical characteristics were not significantly different between the 2 groups. However, all MRSA necrotizing fasciitis developed after the year 2000, and it was significantly different from MSSA necrotizing fasciitis that predominantly took place before the year 2000. In conclusion, S. aureus is an important pathogen of monomicrobial necrotizing fasciitis, and MRSA has emerged as the predominant causative agent in recent years. Therefore, MRSA-directed antibiotic therapy should be considered when treating patients suspected with necrotizing fasciitis in endemic areas.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Bacterial Typing Techniques
  • Child
  • Comorbidity
  • Fasciitis, Necrotizing / drug therapy*
  • Fasciitis, Necrotizing / epidemiology
  • Fasciitis, Necrotizing / microbiology*
  • Fasciitis, Necrotizing / surgery
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Methicillin Resistance*
  • Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus / pathogenicity*
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Staphylococcal Infections / drug therapy*
  • Staphylococcal Infections / epidemiology
  • Staphylococcal Infections / microbiology*
  • Staphylococcal Infections / surgery
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Taiwan / epidemiology