Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Proceedings and BioMed Central.

This article is part of the supplement: International Conference on Prevention & Infection Control (ICPIC 2011)

Open Access Oral presentation

Which anatomical sites should be sampled for screening of MRSA carriage by culture or by rapid PCR test?

DS Blanc*, L Senn, I Nahimana, P Basset and G Zanetti

  • * Corresponding author: DS Blanc

Author Affiliations

Hospital preventive medicine, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois, Lausanne, Switzerland

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Proceedings 2011, 5(Suppl 6):O83  doi:10.1186/1753-6561-5-S6-O83

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

Published:29 June 2011

© 2011 Blanc et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Introduction / objectives

Rapid and accurate detection of MRSA carriage is a key element for therapy and for implementation of measures to prevent onward transmission. Nose is the anatomical site universally recommended for screening. However, other sites are also recommended, especially in countries with low MRSA incidence. Due to the high price of rapid PCR testing, it is important to know the value of testing each additional site.


To evaluate the value of each anatomical site for the screening of MRSA by culture and by a rapid PCR test.


Screening samples included at least swabs of nose, throat, and groin. If applicable, others samples included swabs of wounds, catheterized urines, sputum, or others. Samples for culture were inoculated into an enrichment broth, which were plated after incubation onto chromogenic MRSA agar. Rapid PCR test were performed with GeneXpert MRSA.


12456 MRSA screening were performed by culture, among which 3137 (25.2%) had at least one MRSA-positive sample. The cumulative percentages of MRSA detection by culture increased from 48.1% for nose only, to 78.9 by adding groin, to 95.7 % by adding throat, and to 100% by adding other sites. These values were similar if the analysis was performed according to major MRSA genotypes, except a higher percentage of positive groin samples for the ST228-SCCmec-I clone.

2876 MRSA screening were performed by rapid PCR test, among which 312 (10.8%) had at least one positive sample. The cumulative percentages of MRSA detection increased from 61.9% for nose only, to 92.3 by adding groin, to 99.0 % by adding throat, and to 100% by adding other sites.


Neither by culture nor by rapid PCR test is nose sampling sufficient for MRSA detection. Additional anatomical sites should include at least swabs from groin and throat.

Disclosure of interest

None declared.