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. 2020 Jan;6(1):e000324.
doi: 10.1099/mgen.0.000324.

Using Genomics to Understand Meticillin- And Vancomycin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Infections

Free PMC article

Using Genomics to Understand Meticillin- And Vancomycin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Infections

Stefano G Giulieri et al. Microb Genom. .
Free PMC article


Resistance to meticillin and vancomycin in Staphylococcus aureus significantly complicates the management of severe infections like bacteraemia, endocarditis or osteomyelitis. Here, we review the molecular mechanisms and genomic epidemiology of resistance to these agents, with a focus on how genomics has provided insights into the emergence and evolution of major meticillin-resistant S. aureus clones. We also provide insights on the use of bacterial whole-genome sequencing to inform management of S. aureus infections and for control of transmission at the hospital and in the community.

Keywords: MRSA; Staphylococcus aureus; antibiotic resistance; genomics; vancomycin.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare that there are no conflicts of interest.


Fig. 1.
Fig. 1.
Snapshot of the genomic epidemiology of MRSA based on 42 948 publicly available S. aureus genomes (27 120 mec-positive) processed through the Staphopia platform ( The inset shows the explosion of sequenced genomes and the constant increase in genetic diversity with 1099 different STs found in Staphopia. Despite this diversity, 70 % of MRSA sequences belonged to five STs (ST22, ST8, ST5, ST239 and ST398). It should be noted that publicly available S. aureus genomics do not accurately represent S. aureus epidemiology at this stage, due to sequencing and availability bias and lack of metadata in a large proportion of the dataset.

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