What is MRSA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a type of bacteria that lives harmlessly on the skin of about one-third of healthy individuals. MRSA is the term used for the less common strains of this bacterium, Meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, that are resistant to several widely used antibiotics, making infections harder to treat. It is sometimes referred to as a superbug. 

MRSA is readily transmitted between patients, so the control of MRSA is an important factor in the provision of patient care.

In-patients who are colonised or infected with MRSA must have appropriate special precautions taken to prevent spread to other patients.

Who needs to be screened?

  • All patients will be screened for MRSA prior to their procedure or operation.
  • Patients who are readmitted or who need to attend for a course of treatment will need rescreening prior to each admission
  • Patients with previous positive MRSA (now clear) will need to be screened from 3 sites e.g. nasal, axilla and groin.

What is screening?

Screening is the microbiological testing of samples taken from a patient on or before admission. This allows us to identify patients who are colonised with MRSA.

A nurse will run a cotton bud (swab) over your skin so it can be checked for MRSA, usually from one or more of the potential carriage sites of nose, throat, armpits, groin, and any damaged skin. This is painless and only takes a few seconds. 

If you're not carrying MRSA, it's unlikely you'll be contacted about the result and you should follow the admissions instructions as normal.

If you're carrying MRSA, you may need treatment to remove the bacteria to reduce your risk of getting an infection or spreading the bacteria. You will be advised by the admissions team.