A survey of community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in Korea

Eu Suk Kim, Jin Su Song, Hye Jin Lee, Pyoeng Gyun Choe, Kyung Hwa Park, Jae Hyun Cho, Wan Beom Park, Sung Han Kim, Ji Hwan Bang, Dong Min Kim, Kyoung Un Park, Sue Shin, Mi Suk Lee, Hee Jung Choi, Nam Joong Kim, Eui Chong Kim, Myoung Don Oh, Hong Bin Kim, Kang Won Choe

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124 Scopus citations


Objectives: Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), originally restricted to hospitals, has emerged as a significant pathogen in the community. Although MRSA accounts for over 60% of S. aureus in tertiary hospitals in Korea, little is known about the epidemiology of community-associated MRSA (CA-MRSA). Methods: From January to July 2005, a hospital laboratory-based survey was conducted in seven community-based or tertiary hospitals. The medical records and Health Insurance Review Agency databases were reviewed and MRSA isolated from patients without apparent risk factors was defined as CA-MRSA. Susceptibilities to 12 antibiotics were tested by the disc diffusion method. SCC mec typing, Panton-Valentine leucocidin (PVL) gene detection and multilocus sequence typing (MLST) were performed according to published protocols. Results: Of 3251 S. aureus, 1900 (58.4%) were MRSA. CA-MRSA accounted for 112 (5.9%) of the MRSA. Of the 112 CA-MRSA isolates, 27 and 33 were found to be pathogens and colonizers, respectively. Fifty-two isolates from the patients with chronic otitis media were classified as 'undetermined'. Most of the 27 CA-MRSA patients had skin and soft tissue infections or acute ear infections. None of the patients died during the study period. Among 72 isolates tested, 64% were multidrug-resistant. SCC mec type IVa was the most common type among the colonizers and pathogens. On MLST analysis, ST72 was predominant, but ST5 and ST239 were prevalent in the 'undetermined' group. None possessed the PVL gene. Conclusions: Despite MRSA-endemic hospital settings, CA-MRSA infectionsare not common in Korea. A new clone of CA-MRSA, ST72-SCC mec type IVa without the PVL gene, is the most common form.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1108-1114
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2007

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by grant no. 03-06-003 from the research fund of SNUBH.


  • Epidemiology
  • Panton-Valentine leucocidin
  • S. aureus


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