Date: 16 Mar 2009

spa Typing for Epidemiological Surveillance of Staphylococcus aureus

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The spa typing method is based on sequencing of the polymorphic X region of the protein A gene (spa), present in all strains of Staphylococcus aureus. The X region is constituted of a variable number of 24-bp repeats flanked by well-conserved regions. This single-locus sequence-based typing method combines a number of technical advantages, such as rapidity, reproducibility, and portability. Moreover, due to its repeat structure, the spa locus simultaneously indexes micro- and macrovariations, enabling the use of spa typing in both local and global epidemiological studies. These studies are facilitated by the establishment of standardized spa type nomenclature and Internet shared databases.