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Hospital uses new superbug test


28 October, 2008  

A fast and accurate test to detect the superbug MRSA in critically-ill patients has been introduced at a hospital in Birmingham.

Detection of MRSA in patients heading for intensive care is crucial as they will likely undergo medical procedures that carry a risk of introducing MRSA into sites of the body where it can cause serious harm, such as the lungs and the bloodstream. It is also important in stopping the spread of the disease to other patients.

Traditional culture-based tests – where the bacteria is grown in a Petri dish in a micro-biology lab – take up to three days to verify.

But now doctors at Birmingham Children’s Hospital using the GeneXpert test can identify if a patient to be admitted to the ICU has MRSA within an hour

The test, developed by molecular diagnostics company Cepheid, has so far proven to be 100% accurate.

Consultant microbiologist Dr Jim Gray said: “It made sense to start the screening with ICU patients as they are the most susceptible to contracting the MRSA infection due to the bacteria most commonly gaining access to the body through open wounds, injections, catheters and IV sites.”

Copyright PA Business 2008

Cepheid