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Chapter 13.17 : Screening for Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus
Screening patients for colonization with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is often used during outbreaks to identify and isolate colonized/ infected patients in an attempt to prevent further spread on health care units and within health care facilities. The utility of ongoing surveillance programs and universal admission screening is controversial at present ( 1 , 3 – 5 , 8 , 9 ) but they are used in some jurisdictions. The microbiology laboratory must provide input into screening programs that are implemented and be reimbursed for procedures that are part of these programs. The sensitivity of any screening program depends on the specific body sites sampled, the number of sites sampled, and the methods used for detection. The laboratory costs for screening initiatives are often high, so these initiatives should not be undertaken at the expense of less costly infection control practices.