Community-associated meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus: the case for a genotypic definition.
J Hosp Infect. 2012 Jul;81(3):143-8
Authors: Otter JA, French GL
BACKGROUND: New distinct strains of community-associated meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) have emerged as a cause of infection in previously healthy individuals in community settings. It is important to identify CA-MRSA for clinical management, epidemiological analysis, infection prevention and control, and regulatory reporting, but definitions and nomenclature of these strains are confused.
AIM: To review attempts to define CA-MRSA and propose a new definition.
METHODS: Non-systematic review.
FINDINGS: Epidemiological definitions were useful for differentiating CA-MRSA and healthcare-associated (HA)-MRSA strain types in the past. However, although HA-MRSA strain types are rarely transmitted in the community, CA-MRSA strains have started to be transmitted in healthcare facilities, so epidemiological definitions are breaking down. CA-MRSA are community strains of S. aureus that have acquired the meticillin resistance gene, mecA. They are distinct from HA-MRSA and should be defined genetically. This may be done by combining genotypic typing by multi-locus sequence or spa with analysis of the staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec. Carriage of Panton-Valentine leukocidin or antimicrobial susceptibility profiles can be useful indicators of CA-MRSA but should not be used for their definition.
CONCLUSION: For full assessment of their epidemiology, MRSA infections should be characterized as: (1) caused by HA- or CA-MRSA strain types; (2) acquired in community or healthcare settings; and (3) onset in the community or healthcare facility.
PMID: 22622448 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]