Staphylococcus aureus, both methicillin susceptible and resistant, are now major community-based pathogens worldwide. The basis for this is multifactorial and includes the emergence of epidemic clones with enhanced virulence, antibiotic resistance, colonization potential, or transmissibility. Household reservoirs of these unique strains are crucial to their success as community-based pathogens. Staphylococci become resident in households, either as colonizers or environmental contaminants, increasing the risk for recurrent infections. Interactions of household members with others in different households or at community sites, including schools and daycare facilities, have a critical role in the ability of these strains to become endemic. Colonization density at these sites appears to have an important role in facilitating transmission. The integration of research tools, including whole-genome sequencing (WGS), mathematical modeling, and social network analysis, has provided additional insight into the transmission dynamics of these strains. Thus far, interventions designed to reduce recurrent infections among household members have had limited success, likely due to the multiplicity of potential sources for recolonization. The development of better strategies to reduce the number of household-based infections will depend on greater insight into the different factors that contribute to the success of these uniquely successful epidemic clones of S. aureus.
Keywords: Staphylococcus aureus; community-associated; household transmission.
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