The molecular epidemiology of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in the major countries of East Asia
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Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a successful pathogen which was historically found in hospital settings but now is a common cause of infection in communities. The rapid emergence of community-acquired MRSA (CA-MRSA) at the turn of the 21st century has established this bacterium’s presence throughout the globe and MRSA continues to be endemic in certain countries. Asia is the most populous continent in the world and also holds a high burden of MRSA infection. This presents a concern for both public health and the acquisition of antibiotic resistance in this region. This literature review describes how MRSA became a successful pathogen. It provides a systematic review of the recent literature on MRSA in East Asia to identify major MRSA clones by country as determined by their molecular characteristics. Also to identify notable genetic and epidemiological factors associated with these MRSA clones. The results of this survey provided evidence of the importance of using molecular categorization techniques to accurately distinguish MRSA strains that require specific antibiotic treatment methods. It also provided evidence of CA-MRSA clones invading hospital settings and traditional hospital-acquired MRSA (HA-MRSA) clones continuing to develop multi-drug resistance throughout East Asian countries. The results also detected novel MRSA strains across hospitals and reported the spread of major MRSA clones within and between countries. Strengthening existing surveillance systems and collaborative efforts between countries within Asia should be a priority to monitor the evolution and movement MRSA especially in the age of globalization and accessible travel.