Screening test for Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus
MRSA strains are an ongoing problem in healthcare settings, with outbreaks occurring in the community also. Many patients are only colonised but act as reservoirs of the organism.
Screening for MRSA allows identification of patients & staff that may be at risk of infection and/or involved in transmission of the organism. MRSA is associated with high morbidity, mortality and high costs. Screening on admission allows for rapid detection of MRSA which is of importance for clinical and infection control reasons. Screening of elective hospital admissions and screening of non-elective admissions is now mandatory.
The Hospital Infection Control Policy for MRSA (HIC 12) gives details of the screening and control measures for MRSA and the types of swabs to be sent in the given circumstances. A screen comprises of swabs from: nose/groin, any wounds/IV sites, any skin lesions/eczema etc. or catheter urine if appropriate.
The specimen is cultured onto MRSA selective media to detect the presence of this organism.
Please see the MRSA Screening swabs user guide
Pink topped Copan e-Swab.
Sample types that are acceptable:
- Nasal swabs
- Groin swabs
- Umbilical swabs (infants)
- Sputum (if expectorating or intubated)
- Urines (from catheterised patients)
- Entry sites of catheters/invasive devices (intravascular lines/tracheostomies)
- Stoma sites
- Swabs of lesions/sites of abnormal skin
- Pressure sores/wounds
Limitations & restrictions
Only one swab must be present in the e-Swab container. Please see the MRSA Screening guide for details on how to collect the sample.
The following sample sites will not be processed for MRSA screen:
- Throat swabs
N.B. The lab will process axilla samples from requests originating from Nuffield and patients awaiting transfer to Newcastle hospitals.
Microbiology Lab, James Cook University Hospital, Marton Road, TS4 3BW