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What is MRSA?
Staphylococcus aureus is a bacteria found on the skin and in the nostrils of approximately 30% of healthy people. MRSA stands for Methicillin or Meticillin (M) resistant Staphylococcus(S) aureus (A). MRSA are varieties of Staphylococcus aureus that have developed resistance to Methicillin (a type of penicillin) and some other antibiotics that are used to treat infections.

Some people carry MRSA on their skin or in their nostrils and are unaware, because it does them no harm and they have no symptoms, known as 'colonisation'.

MRSA can cause harm if it is able to enter the body and can cause local infections such as boils, or more serious problems such as wound infections, chest infections or blood stream infections.

The Department of Health are committed to reducing MRSA infections and in this regard, have stated that with effect from April 2009, all elective patients being admitted to hospital will be screened for MRSA, with all emergency patients being screened on admission by December 2010. At Papworth Hospital NHS Trust all relevant emergency and elective patients have been screened before or on admission from April 2009. Screening takes place at any point along the patient journey and involves taking swabs from the nose, throat and groin/perineum.

Compliance with screening is monitored by:

  1. Monthly point prevalance audits of compliance with screening
  2. Every new inpatient case identified, audited for compliance with decolonisation procedure
  3. Monthly figures of numbers of screens carried out and numbers positive

The hospital infection prevention and control committee monitor compliance with MRSA screening on a six weekly basis and are responsible for action planning.

Feedback to the Trust Board is through the director of infection prevention and control where quarterly compliance with screening is monitored.

Any patient found to be 'colonised' with MRSA, is offered a simple washing treatment which can be used to remove the MRSA from the skin.

MRSA can be transferred on hands; therefore careful hand washing can help to reduce this risk.

Papworth Hospital MRSA procedure
Patients guide to MRSA
Hand hygiene; a patient guide
MRSA screening statement of compliance
Patient guide to isolation precautions


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