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MRSA wound test could prevent infection spread

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A simple test to identify MRSA in wounds could identify the infection more quickly and prevent it from spreading, according to Edinburgh University researchers.

It involves analysing a swab taken from a wound or sore using a strip with electrical sensors that can detect MRSA.

The scientists hope it could be developed for use outside the laboratory, for example, in a GP practice.

The research was presented last week at an Advances in Biodetection and Biosensors conference.

The test was developed using swabs taken from patients attending a diabetic foot clinic at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.


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Readers' comments (1)

  • Andrew Kingsley

    A test would be useful if it was suitably sensitive and specific as it would enable correct antibiotic treatment in those wounds that are infected. Infection is a clinical diagnosis based on signs and symptoms not a microbiological one. The mere presence (colonisation) of MRSA in a wound is no reason to give an antibiotic.

    Knowing an MRSA result would not currently change anything about specific product choices for topical antiseptic dressing products given the spectrum of activity of these products.

    If MRSA is in a wound then it is reasonable to presume it is also colonising the body so depending on test reliability it could prove to be a quicker screening test than current methods. However a negative result in the wound would not necessarily mean negative at other carriage sites so before any change in screening protocol it would need thinking through carefully.

    The main ways to stop MRSA spreading from wounds are getting the standard infection control precautions right eveytime and getting the wound healed in a timely manner, which means effective wound care from the outset rather than the let's wait and see if it heals without much intervention and then get busy with proper therapy if it goes chronic approach!

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