Caister Academic Press

The Population Structure of Staphylococcus aureus

Mark C. Enright
from: Staphylococcus: Molecular Genetics (Edited by: Jodi Lindsay). Caister Academic Press, U.K. (2008)


Staphylococcus aureus is a major human pathogen causing a wide spectrum of diseases from minor ailments to severe life-threatening conditions. Methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) are endemic in most hospitals in many industrialized countries and they are considered the most serious hospital-acquired pathogen as they can cause large outbreaks that are frequently difficult to treat using antibiotics. A large amount of genetic information is available on several examples of this species and this, together with multilocus sequence typing (MLST) data on >1400 isolates from many countries has provided unique insights into the biology of the species and in particular, its ability to exploit a wide variety of niches. These studies show that although the great majority of S. aureus genes share a high degree of homology, virulence and antibiotic resistance genes carried on mobile genetic elements can drastically alter strain characteristics in the short-term giving the species a high degree of adaptability. These allow it to survive in many different human and animal tissues and provide the adaptability necessary to evolve resistance to new antibiotics read more ...
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