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The Growing Menace of Community-Acquired Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus

Robert C. Moellering Jr., MD
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From Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, MA 02215.


Potential Financial Conflicts of Interest: Consultancies: R.C. Moellering (Pfizer Inc., Cubist Pharmaceuticals); Honoraria: R.C. Moellering (Pfizer Inc., Cubist Pharmaceuticals); Grants received: R.C. Moellering (Pfizer Inc., Cubist Pharmaceuticals).

Requests for Single Reprints: Robert C. Moellering Jr., MD, Department of Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, 110 Francis Street, Suite 6A, Boston, MA 02215.


Ann Intern Med. 2006;144(5):368-370. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-144-5-200603070-00014
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As we read anxiously about the possibility of a worldwide pandemic of avian influenza, another epidemic is actually happening in the United States and elsewhere. Methicillin-resistant strains of Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) have now emerged as community-acquired pathogens capable of causing serious disease. We have known about MRSA since the early 1960s (1). Until recently, however, infection with these strains was primarily limited to hospitals and other institutional settings. Sporadic reports of community-acquired (or community-associated) MRSA infections have appeared since 1980, but 1999 marked the beginning of the current epidemic in the United States. The sentinel event was a series of fatal cases of community-acquired MRSA infections due to a clone of MRSA known as USA 400 in Native American children living in the Midwest (2). The USA 400 type has subsequently caused infections throughout the country.

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