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.
Rapid PCR is performed using the specimen on GeneXpert to detect MRSA DNA. This is performed on target ward areas but may be performed on additional locations in certain circumstances following contacting the Microbiology lab.
Please see the MRSA Screening swabs user guide
Pink topped Copan e-Swab
Limitations & restrictions
MRSA PCR testing is only validated for use on combined nose/groin swabs. All other sample types sent for MRSA PCR will be processed as a routine screen only.
MRSA PCR testing is not valid for patients under 2 years of age.
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.
Microbiology Lab, James Cook University Hospital, Marton Road, TS4 3BW
Wards eligible for urgent PCR testing:
- Cardio ICU
- General HDU
- Neuro HDU (Ward 24)
- Ward 36 Trauma (Orthopaedics)
- Ward 6 Vascular
- Spinal HDU
- FHN ICU
- FHN NNU
- JCUH SAU (Emergency cases only)
- FHN SAU (Emergency cases only)
The correct test request MUST be received for the lab to be able to process the sample as an urgent PCR, otherwise swabs from these locations will receive a routine MRSA screen.
Criteria SAU patients must fulfil to receive PCR test:
- Emergency patient – same day theatre procedure without prosthesis
- Emergency patient – same day theatre procedure with prosthesis
- SAU breach patient
- Short notice elective additions as it would be impossible for the lab to determine which patients meet the criteria it will be managed via ICE requesting by the ward.