Purpose of review
Staphylococcus aureus is the most common invasive bacterial pathogen infecting children in the U.S. and many parts of the world. This major human pathogen continues to evolve, and recognition of recent trends in epidemiology, therapeutics and future horizons is of high importance.
Over the past decade, a relative rise of methicillin-susceptible S. aureus (MSSA) has occurred, such that methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) no longer dominates the landscape of invasive disease. Antimicrobial resistance continues to develop, however, and novel therapeutics or preventive modalities are urgently needed. Unfortunately, several recent vaccine attempts proved unsuccessful in humans.
Recent scientific breakthroughs highlight the opportunity for novel interventions against S. aureus by interfering with virulence rather than by traditional antimicrobial mechanisms. A S. aureus vaccine remains elusive; the reasons for this are multifactorial, and lessons learned from prior unsuccessful attempts may create a path toward an effective preventive. Finally, new diagnostic modalities have the potential to greatly enhance clinical care for invasive S. aureus disease in children.