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Staphylococcus aureus is a major cause of severe infection in humans and yet is carried without symptoms by a large proportion of the population. We used multilocus sequence typing to characterize isolates of S. aureus recovered from asymptomatic nasal carriage and from episodes of severe disease within a defined population. We identified a number of frequently carried genotypes that were disproportionately common as causes of disease, even taking into account their relative abundance among carriage isolates. The existence of these ecologically abundant hypervirulent clones suggests that factors promoting the ecological fitness of this important pathogen also increase its virulence.

Original publication

DOI

10.1126/science.1056495

Type

Journal article

Journal

Science

Publication Date

06/04/2001

Volume

292

Pages

114 - 116

Keywords

Carrier State, Community-Acquired Infections, Cross Infection, Genes, Bacterial, Genetic Variation, Genotype, Humans, Nose, Point Mutation, Recombination, Genetic, Sequence Analysis, DNA, Staphylococcal Infections, Staphylococcus aureus, Virulence