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Pre-admission screening for MRSA not effective


12 March, 2008  

Screening patients before admissions may not help control healthcare-acquired infection methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), according to a study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association.

The study saw 10,193 surgery patients tested for MRSA before being admitted to the University of Geneva Hospitals and Medical School. A control group of more than 10,000 surgery patients was admitted without the tests. Patients with MRSA were isolated, disinfected and treated with antibiotics.

Though five per cent of the tested group were identified as carriers, and the MRSA test was ‘rapid’, results were often not available until after the patient was discharged, and infection rates were not significantly impacted.

“It wasn’t what we expected. We were very surprised,” lead author Dr Stephan Harbarth told the Chicago Tribune.

With an infection rate of just one in 1,000 at the hospital, Harbarth admits that there may not have been much room for improvement.

The Journal of the American Medical Association