, Volume 192, Issue 8, pp 603-617
Date: 11 Jun 2010

Molecular characteristics of community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus strains for clinical medicine

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Infections caused by methicillin-resistant S. aureus strains are mainly associated with a hospital setting. However, nowadays, the MRSA infections of non-hospitalized patients are observed more frequently. In order to distinguish them from hospital-associated methicillin-resistant S. aureus (HA-MRSA) strains, given them the name of community-associated methicillin-resistant S. aureus (CA-MRSA). CA-MRSA strains most commonly cause skin infections, but may lead to more severe diseases, and consequently the patient’s death. The molecular markers of CA-MRSA strains are the presence of accessory gene regulator (agr) of group I or III, staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec (SCCmec) type IV, V or VII and genes encoding for Panton–Valentine leukocidin (PVL). In addition, CA-MRSA strains show resistance to β-lactam antibiotics. Studies on the genetic elements of CA-MRSA strains have a key role in the unambiguous identification of strains, monitoring of infections, improving the treatment, work on new antimicrobial agents and understanding the evolution of these pathogens.

Communicated by Sebastian Suerbaum.