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.

Synthetases:

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

Systemic:

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


Target:

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

Taxonomy:

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

Transformation:

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

Transposon:

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


Vancomycin:

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.

Virulence:

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

Virus:

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.

VRE:

See vancomycin-resistant enterococcus.

VRSA:

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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