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Faster screening methods fail to reduce MRSA infection

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Using rapid polymerase chain reaction (PCR) screening method for MRSA does not reduce the incidence of infection.

Using rapid PCR test forMRSA screeningis significantly quicker than standard culture methods, but this rapid turnaround does not result in a reduction in the incidence of MRSA, reports a study in the Journal of Hospital Infection.

The study was carried out on a surgical ward and a medical/cardiology ward over an eight month period. During phase one of the study surgical patients were screening with rapid PCR and standard screening methods were used on the medical/ cardiology ward for four months. During the second phase theMRSA screening methodswere switched between the two wards. Infection control practices on the wards were audited to check for clinical practice that could influence the results.

The time between swabs being taken and the results telephoned to the wards was reduced with PCR from 47 to 21 hours. However the authors found that this time reduction was not sufficient to limit the transmission of MRSA.

Journal of Hospital Infection; 71: 1, 22-28

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