Send to

Choose Destination
J Hosp Infect. 2007 Jan;65(1):24-8. Epub 2006 Dec 4.

Effect on MRSA transmission of rapid PCR testing of patients admitted to critical care.

Author information

Department of Microbiology and Infection Control, Derriford Hospital, Plymouth, UK.


We report a significant reduction in the rate of meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) transmission on a critical care unit when admission screening by culture was replaced with a same-day polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test. This was an observational cohort study, set in a 19-bed mixed medical and surgical adult critical care unit in southwest England. We studied 1305 patients admitted between April 2005 and February 2006. Standard MRSA culture methods were used to screen 612 patients between April 2005 and August 2005, and the IDI MRSA PCR test was used to screen 693 patients between September 2005 and February 2006. Standard infection control precautions were instituted when positive results were obtained by either method. Outcome measures included carriage rate, turnaround time for results and rate of subsequent MRSA transmission on the unit. The overall carriage rate on admission to the unit was 7.0%. Culture results were available in three working days, PCR results within one working day. The mean incidence of MRSA transmission was 13.89/1000 patient days during the culture phase and 4.9/1000 patient days during the PCR phase (relative risk reduction 0.65, 95% CI 0.28-1.07). PCR screening for MRSA on admission to critical care units is feasible in routine clinical practice, provides quicker results than culture-based screening and is associated with a significant reduction in subsequent MRSA transmission.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center