Staphylococcus aureus: a well-armed pathogen

Clin Infect Dis. 1998 May;26(5):1179-81. doi: 10.1086/520289.


Staphylococcus aureus is a virulent pathogen that is currently the most common cause of infections in hospitalized patients. S. aureus infection can involve any organ system. The success of S. aureus as a pathogen and its ability to cause such a wide range of infections are the result of its extensive virulence factors. The increase in the resistance of this virulent pathogen to antibacterial agents, coupled with its increasing prevalence as a nosocomial pathogen, is of major concern. The core resistance phenotype that seems to be most associated with the persistence of S. aureus in the hospital is methicillin resistance. Methicillin resistance in nosocomial S. aureus isolates has been increasing dramatically in United States hospitals and is also associated with resistance to other useful antistaphylococcal compounds. Possible ways to decrease the incidence of nosocomial S. aureus infections include instituting more effective infection control, decreasing nasal colonization, developing vaccines, and developing new or improved antimicrobials.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cross Infection / drug therapy
  • Cross Infection / microbiology
  • Cross Infection / prevention & control
  • Drug Resistance, Microbial*
  • Hospitals
  • Humans
  • Infection Control
  • Methicillin Resistance
  • Staphylococcal Infections / drug therapy
  • Staphylococcal Infections / microbiology*
  • Staphylococcal Infections / prevention & control
  • Staphylococcal Vaccines
  • Staphylococcus aureus / drug effects*
  • Staphylococcus aureus / immunology
  • Staphylococcus aureus / pathogenicity


  • Staphylococcal Vaccines