Intended for healthcare professionals


Community acquired MRSA in Europe

BMJ 2007; 335 doi: (Published 08 November 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;335:947
  1. Tristan Ferry, resident in infectious diseases,
  2. Jerome Etienne, professor of microbiology
  1. INSERM, U851, Université Lyon 1, Centre National de Référence des Staphylocoques, Faculté Laennec, Lyon F-69008, France
  1. jetienne{at}

    Is less common than in the US but spread must be actively controlled

    Infections caused by methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) were originally identified only in hospital settings. But new strains of MRSA have emerged and are now an important cause of community acquired infection worldwide,1 and they often affect patients with no risk factors for acquiring a strain of hospital origin. A study just published estimates that 94 360 invasive MRSA infections occurred in the United States in 2005, primarily but not entirely related to health care.2 In the study's surveillance sample, 58.4% of cases were defined as having community onset (cases with a healthcare risk factor but with a culture obtained ≤48 hours after hospital admission) and 13.7% were community associated (meaning that they started outside hospital and were not associated with health care).

    Many isolates of community acquired MRSA produce Panton-Valentine leucocidin (PVL), a toxin that is not detected in MRSA infections associated with health care. The toxin destroys leucocytes and causes extensive tissue necrosis. The prevalence of PVL positive community …

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