Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus in Community Settings: Spread of Drug Resistance and Uncontrollable Infections

T. Yamamoto 1 , 2 , T.W. Wan 1 , 3 , O. Khokhlova 1 , 2 , W.C. Hung 4 , Y.T. Lin 5 , O. Peryanova 2  and L.J. Teng 3
  • 1 Department of Epidemiology, Genomics, and Evolution, International Medical Education and Research Center, Niigata, Japan
  • 2 Russia-Japan Center of Microbiology, Metagenomics and Infectious Diseases, Krasnoyarsk
  • 3 Department of Clinical Laboratory Sciences and Medical Biotechnology, Taipei
  • 4 Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Kaohsiung
  • 5 Department of Medical Laboratory Science and Biotechnology, Taichung

Abstract

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a major multidrug-resistant bacterial pathogen. The evolution of MRSA is dynamic posing an ongoing threat to humans. The evolution of MRSA includes horizontal gene transfer, which is mediated by mobile genetic elements, plasmids, and bacteriophages, and also mutations. In this review, we clarify the recent trends in MRSA from the perspectives of drug-resistance transfer and uncontrollable infections, particularly those occurring in community settings. We first address the role of MRSA as a disseminator of multidrug resistance. We have studied the cell-to-cell transfer of drug resistance, in which transfer frequencies range from 10-3 to 10-8. The mechanisms of drug-resistance transfers include the self-transmission of large plasmids, the mobilization of small nonconjugative plasmids, the generalized transduction of phages, and the transfer of transposons with circular intermediates. We then discuss uncontrollable infections. Although several anti-MRSA agents have been developed, uncontrollable cases of MRSA infections are still reported. Examples include a case of uncontrollable sepsis arising from a community-associated MRSA (CA-MRSA) with the ST8/SCCmecIVl genotype, and a relapsing severe invasive infection of ST30/SCCmecIVc CA-MRSA in a student athlete. Some of these cases may be attributable to unique adhesins, superantigens, or cytolytic activities. The delayed diagnosis of highly adhesive and toxic infections in community settings may result in CA-MRSA diseases that are difficult to treat. Repeated relapse, persistent bacteremia, and infections of small-colony variants may occur. To treat MRSA infections in community settings, these unique features of MRSA must be considered to ensure that diagnostic delay is avoided.

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