Staphylococcus aureus disease and drug resistance in resource-limited countries in South and East Asia

Mahidol-Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit, Faculty of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand.
The Lancet Infectious Diseases (Impact Factor: 22.43). 03/2009; 9(2):130-5. DOI: 10.1016/S1473-3099(09)70022-2
Source: PubMed


By contrast with high-income countries, Staphylococcus aureus disease ranks low on the public-health agenda in low-income countries. We undertook a literature review of S aureus disease in resource-limited countries in south and east Asia, and found that its neglected status as a developing world pathogen does not equate with low rates of disease. The incidence of the disease seems to be highest in neonates, its range of clinical manifestations is as broad as that seen in other settings, and the mortality rate associated with serious S aureus infection, such as bacteraemia, is as high as 50%. The prevalence of meticillin-resistant S aureus (MRSA) infection across much of resource-limited Asia is largely unknown. Antibiotic drugs are readily and widely available from pharmacists in most parts of Asia, where ease of purchase and frequent self-medication are likely to be major drivers in the emergence of drug resistance. In our global culture, the epidemiology of important drug-resistant pathogens in resource-limited countries is inextricably linked with the health of both developing and developed communities. An initiative is needed to raise the profile of S aureus disease in developing countries, and to define a programme of research to find practical solutions to the health-care challenges posed by this important global pathogen.

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