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MRSA swabs


MRSA Screening

MRSA screening swabs are taken to ascertain whether the patient carries methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).The hospital carries out screens on elective, high risk, emergency patients and routine MRSA screens.

Routine MRSA Screening

The screening sites for routine screens are the same as those for emergency admission screens. In addition, a line tip must be sent to Microbiology, in addition to invasive device site swab only if infection is suspected via an invasive device.

Neonates from other hospitals:

  • Ear

  • Umbilicus

  • Axilla

  • Groin

  • Line sites

Please see the test database for turnaround time

How do I collect & send samples?

Sample collection:
  • Ensure that the swab/s being used are in there use by date.

  • When taking nasal swabs, swab both nostrils with the same swab.

  • It is recommended to moisten the swab with sterile water or sterile saline prior to swabbing (not essential)

  • The optimal time for collection is before MRSA treatment has commenced.

  • MRSA screening swabs are cultured 7 days a week.  If there is a delay in sending swabs to Pathology, refrigeration is preferable to storage at ambient temperature.  Delays of over 48 hours are undesirable.

Sample & form labelling

NB. Samples received without the site or investigation stated, will not be tested

  • The following labels (attached to request forms) denote the type of patient.

  • Blue Label: Admitted as an Emergency.

  • Yellow Label: Elective Admission screen.

  •  No label: Routine screen.

  • Please ensure that the correct stickers are firmly affixed to the patients request form.  This system allows for coding of patients to ensure ward compliance with the hospital screening policy.

  • Ensure that the stickers are on each form if sending more than 1 sample.

  • For infection control purposes it is vital that the exact location of the patient is specified.

  • When ordering MRSA screening on ICM, ensure one form is ordered for every sample, specifying each sample site separately (if more than one sample taken from a patient).

  • If using a hand written form ensure all details are filled in correctly e.g. location, sample site etc.., taking special care to tick the MRSA screen box (if pre-op) or writing MRSA in other.

  • It is possible to order to add MRSA to another investigation. Select the culture required and add MRSA as an additional test.