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UW Health SMPH
American Family Children's Hospital

UW Hospital and Clinics Lab Test Directory

Test Name: MRSA by PCR

Test Code(s): MRSA / HCMRSA

CPT Code(s): 87641

Methodology: PCR

Clinical Significance: Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is harbored in the nares, axilla and groin from which it is readily spread to other patients and the environment. Patients who have recovered from an MRSA infection, e.g., sepsis, pneumonia, skin/soft tissue, must have negative tests from the surveillance sites on three consecutive weeks before precautions can be lifted. There are other clinical scenarios in which MRSA surveillance of nares swabs is also clinically appropriate.

Turnaround Time: Stat: Not available stat.
Routine: Up to 3 days.

Specimen Requirements

Specimen: Nasal swab, axilla/groin swab, throat swab

Collection Instructions: Use one DOUBLE culture swab (CS#4005445) to collect both left and right nares.
Use one DOUBLE culture swab (CS#4005445) to collect left and right axilla and groin.
Use one DOUBLE culture swab (CS#4005445) for throat.

Collection Container: Preferred: See collection instructions.

Specimen Transport: Transport specimen to UWHC Microbiology Laboratory (B4/231) as soon as possible.

Stability: Ambient: 24 hrs
Refrigerated: Up to 6 days
Frozen: Not acceptable


Expected Results:


Additional Information:

This test was performed using a modification of an FDA approved method. The performance characteristics of this test were determined by the UWHC Clinical Laboratories and meet the standards for clinical testing.


Negative test results may occur from improper specimen collection, handling or storage, presence of inhibitor or because the number of organisms in the specimen is below the analytical sensitivity of the test.


A positive test does not necessarily indicate the presence of viable organisms.


Specimens submitted for MRSA surveillance from anatomic sites other than nares, axilla and groin will be ordered as a routine culture.


See Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) Screening Procedure.

Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus surveillance

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