Not only is Asia the most populous region in the world, but inappropriate therapy, including self-medication with over-the-counter antimicrobial agents, is a common response to infectious diseases. The high antibiotic selective pressure among the overcrowded inhabitants creates an environment that is suitable for the rapid development and efficient spread of numerous multidrug-resistant pathogens. Indeed, Asia is among the regions with the highest prevalence rates of healthcare-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (HA-MRSA) and community-associated methicillin-resistant S. aureus (CA-MRSA) in the world. Most hospitals in Asia are endemic for multidrug-resistant methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA), with an estimated proportion from 28% (in Hong Kong and Indonesia) to >70% (in Korea) among all clinical S. aureus isolates in the early 2010s. Isolates with reduced susceptibility or a high level of resistance to glycopeptides have also been increasingly identified in the past few years. In contrast, the proportion of MRSA among community-associated S. aureus infections in Asian countries varies markedly, from <5% to >35%. Two pandemic HA-MRSA clones, namely multilocus sequence type (ST) 239 and ST5, are disseminated internationally in Asia, whereas the molecular epidemiology of CA-MRSA in Asia is characterized by clonal heterogeneity, similar to that in Europe. In this review, the epidemiology of S. aureus in both healthcare facilities and communities in Asia is addressed, with an emphasis on the prevalence, clonal structure and antibiotic resistant profiles of the MRSA strains. The novel MRSA strains from livestock animals have been considered to constitute a public health threat in western countries. The emerging livestock-associated MRSA strains in Asia are also included in this review.
Keywords: Asia; community-associated; healthcare-associated; heterogeneous VISA; livestock-associated; methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus; molecular epidemiology; vancomycin-intermediate S. aureus; vancomycin-resistant S. aureus.
© 2014 The Authors Clinical Microbiology and Infection © 2014 European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases.