Staphylococcus aureus:

Normally commensal bacteria on the skin that can cause nosocomial infections when they penetrate body tissues and organs as a result of wounds and surgery. See MRSA.

Streptococcus pneumoniae or "pneumococcus":

Most common cause of bacterial infection in the United States.

Surveillance systems:

As used in this report, data collection and record keeping to track the emergence and spread of disease-causing organisms such as antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Susceptibility test:

Any of a large number of tests used to determine whether bacteria are susceptible or resistant to an antibiotic.


Term used in the trivial or recommended names of enzymes, particularly those of the lygase class.


Pertaining to or affecting the body as a whole; frequently applied to bloodstream infections.


Denoting a cell or organ that is selectively affected by a particular agent.


Systematic distinguishing, ordering, and naming of type groups within a subject field.


Uptake by a bacterium of DNA from a ruptured cell and incorporation of genes from this DNA into the bacterial chromosome.


Small DNA element that can move among various DNAs—chromosomes, plasmids, and bacteriophages; often carries genes specifying antibiotic resistance.


Widely used glycopeptide antibiotic, particularly important for treatment of infections caused by strains of S. aureus, some of which are resistant to all other antibiotics.

Vancomycin-resistant enterococcus:

Bacterial strain; some VREs are resistant to all commercially available antibiotics.


Measure of the degree and severity of pathogenicity of a disease-causing organism.


Submicroscopic pieces of genetic material (RNA or DNA) enclosed in a protein coat that cause infectious disease; obligate parasites that can reproduce only in living cells.


See vancomycin-resistant enterococcus.


Vancomycin-resistant S. aureus.

Western blot:

Technique used in molecular biology that fractionates and detects protein antigens of specific molecular weights.

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