The rapid dissemination of community-acquired meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) since the early 2000s and the appearance of new successful lineages is a matter of concern. The burden of these infections varies widely between different groups of individuals and in different regions of the world. Estimating the total burden of disease is therefore problematic. Skin and soft-tissue infections, often in otherwise healthy young individuals, are the most common clinical manifestation of these infections. The antibiotic susceptibilities of these strains also vary, although they are often more susceptible to 'traditional' antibiotics than related hospital-acquired strains. Preventing the dissemination of these organisms throughout the general population requires a multifaceted approach, including screening and decolonisation, general hygiene and cleaning measures, antibiotic stewardship programmes and, in the future, vaccination. The current evidence on the prevention and control of CA-MRSA is appraised and summarised in this review.
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