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40 years of methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus

BMJ 2001; 323 doi: (Published 22 September 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;323:644

MRSA is here to stay—but it can be controlled

  1. Alex van Belkum, molecular microbiologist (,
  2. Henri Verbrugh, professor of medical microbiology and infectious diseases
  1. Erasmus University Medical Center, 3015 GD Rotterdam, Netherlands

    S taphylococcus aureus is well adapted to the human body, capable of spreading from person to person, hiding in intracellular compartments,1 and, most importantly, inducing various forms of human disease. During infection the bacterial cells produce a large variety of virulence factors, among which, for instance, are molecules that subtly interfere with the chemotaxis of neutrophils to the site of infection.2 Adding to the complexity of the infectious process is the fact that the host also responds in a variety of ways immunologically, sometimes producing a certain degree of resistance to infection.3 S aureus has remained among the top three clinically important pathogens over the past few decades, and a particular worry has been the rise of methicillin resistant strains.

    The clinical need for an effective vaccine against S aureus is clear, but since infections caused by S aureus are complex and as yet largely undefined (from the perspective of both the pathogen and the host) strategies for developing vaccines are scarce. 4 5 …

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