Staphylococcus aureus, unlike many virulent pathogens, is a common commensal asymptomatically colonizing the nares1 and other body sites in approximately 30% of healthy individuals. The remarkable success of S aureus as a human pathogen is due in large part to its ability to develop resistance to antimicrobial agents. Although it might appear that the increasing prevalence of resistant S aureus, particularly methicillin-resistant S aureus (MRSA), has been continuous and uninterrupted, understanding the evolution of S aureus resistance is helpful for interpretation of data on recent trends in invasive MRSA infection, such as those reported by Kallen and colleagues2 in this issue of JAMA.
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