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Keywords:

  • Control;
  • cross-infection;
  • epidemiology;
  • MRSA;
  • review;
  • Staphylococcus aureus

Abstract

Although the exact burden of disease caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) remains largely unknown, most experts agree that MRSA infections are an important clinical and public health problem. Thousands of reports have been published during the last four decades concerning epidemiological and microbiological aspects of MRSA, but uncertainty remains about the best approach to prevent and control this worldwide plague, especially endemic MRSA. Epidemiological methods, e.g., risk scores for targeted screening upon admission, rapid molecular tests and pre-emptive isolation of high-risk patients, new decontamination regimens and restriction of certain antibiotic classes, are all promising approaches that may decrease MRSA cross-transmission; however, further evidence is needed before these strategies can be implemented on a wide scale. Control of community MRSA is an additional challenge for the future, requiring improved surveillance and contact tracing, as well as education and treatment of both infected cases and colonised contacts. This review summarises recent advances and studies that address these issues. Overall, it seems that there is no level of MRSA prevalence for which active control measures are no longer warranted.