Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) — Is it Controllable?

  • C. Glen Mayhall


Methicillin was first used in 1959. Within 2 years, the first Staphylococcus aureus isolate resistant to methicillin was reported by Jevons (M.P. Jevons, letter to the Editor, Br. Med. J. 1:124–125, 1961). During the 1960s, methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) became a major problem in Europe only to recede in the early 1970s (30). Although outbreaks were reported from the United States in 1968 by Barrett et al. (7) and in 1970 by O’Toole et al. (42), MRSA did not become a problem in this country until the mid 1970s (25). The MRSA epidemic has continued to expand through the 1980s (28,45,66). In spite of intense efforts, attempts to control MRSA outbreaks in hospitals and to eradicate MRSA from hospital patient populations have either failed or met with very modest success. Even though MRSA has been difficult to control, much has been learned about the epidemiology of MRSA in the hospital over the last decade. Available data indicate that MRSA can be controlled but that it is difficult to eliminate MRSA from hospital patient populations. Design of control programs for MRSA require an understanding of the mechanisms of methicillin resistance in S. aureus, how to identify MRSA, the origin of MRSA in the hospital, the reservoirs, mode of transmission, risk factors for acquiring MRSA and the application of control measures that have proven effective in studies of outbreaks and their control.


Staphylococcus Aureus Methicillin Resistance Nasal Carrier Hospital Personnel Clinical Culture 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. Glen Mayhall
    • 1
  1. 1.Hospital Epidemiology Unit, Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, Medical College of VirginiaVirginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmondUSA

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