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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Control of MRSA infection and colonisation in an intensive care unit by GeneOhm MRSA assay and culture methods

Claudia Dalla Valle1, Maria Rosalia Pasca2, Debora De Vitis1, Federico Capra Marzani3, Vincenzo Emmi3 and Piero Marone1*

Author Affiliations

1 Laboratorio di Batteriologia e Micologia, Area Infettivologica, Fondazione IRCCS S. Matteo, Pavia, Italia

2 Dipartimento di Genetica e Microbiologia, Università degli Studi di Pavia, Italia

3 Rianimazione I, Fondazione IRCCS S. Matteo, Pavia, Italia

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BMC Infectious Diseases 2009, 9:137  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-9-137

Published: 24 August 2009



Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is one of the major nosocomial pathogens. Due to the diffusion of MRSA strains in both hospital and community settings, prevention and control strategies are receiving increased attention. Approximately 25% to 30% of the population is colonised with S. aureus and 0.2% to 7% with MRSA. The BD GeneOhm MRSA real-time PCR assay offers quicker identification of MRSA-colonised patients than do culture methods.


Ninety-five patients admitted to the Intensive Care Unit of IRCCS Policlinico San Matteo of Pavia (Italy) for a period > 24 h were screened for MRSA colonisation with both the culture method and the GeneOhm assay.


Of the 246 nasal swabs collected from 95 patients, 36 samples were found to be positive by both methods (true-positive). 30% of colonised patients had developed the MRSA infection.


Our results show that the GeneOhm MRSA assay is a valuable diagnostic tool for detecting MRSA quickly in nasal swabs. This study confirms that colonisation represents a high risk factor for MRSA infection, and that good MRSA surveillance in an Intensive Care Unit is therefore an excellent way to prevent MRSA infection.