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Summary

The control of healthcare-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection is of concern worldwide. Given the evidence that several pathogenic species replicate within amoebae and emerge more virulent and more resistant and the abundance of amoebae in healthcare settings, we investigated interactions of Acanthamoeba polyphaga with epidemic MRSA isolates. MRSA proliferated in the presence of amoebae, attributable partly to intracellular replication. Following 24 h of co-culture, confocal microscopy revealed that c. 50% amoebae had viable MRSA within phago-lysosomes and 2% of amoebae were heavily infected with viable cocci throughout the cytoplasm. Infection control strategies should recognize the contribution of protozoa.