The public health burden caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections is now widely recognized, and is a cause of public alarm. Effective MRSA risk management in the healthcare system as well as in the community should rely on accurate detection of reservoirs and sources of transmission, as well as on close monitoring of the impact of interventions on disease incidence and bacterial dissemination. MRSA carrier screening and disease surveillance, coupled with molecular typing, are key information tools for integrated MRSA control and individual risk assessment. These tools should be tailored to the distinct needs of local interventions and national prevention programmes. Surveillance schemes should primarily inform local staff and serve as quality assurance about MRSA risk management. New technologies, including the use of selective culture media and real-time PCR assays, allow faster detection of MRSA carriers upon admission or during stay in healthcare institutions. More research is needed to ascertain their cost-effectiveness for MRSA control. Likewise, tremendous progress has been made concerning molecular typing methods, with optimization and standardization of sequence-based technologies offering broad applicability and high throughput. However, no single S. aureus typing method is yet providing fully reliable information within the range of discrimination needed for public health action. Further refinement of genotyping methods and international harmonization of surveillance and typing schemes must be achieved to facilitate global MRSA control.
- infection control