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UW Health SMPH
American Family Children's Hospital

UW Hospital and Clinics Lab Test Directory

Test Name: MRSA/MSSA by PCR

Test Code(s): MSSA / HCMSSA

CPT Code(s): 87641; if MRSA is negative add cpt 87640

Methodology: PCR

Clinical Significance: Staphylococcus aureus(SA) is a significant cause of community acquired and nosocomial infections and has been associated with prolonged hospitalizations and increased costs. Further, an increase in mortality among patients infected with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) has been found.

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 hours
Refrigerated: Up to 6 days
Frozen: Not acceptable


Expected Results:


Additional Information:

At UWHC, a Pre-Surgical screen consists of collecting both left and right nares using one DOUBLE culture swab (CS#4005445).


This test detects both MRSA and MSSA.  For MRSA only testing, see MRSA by PCR.


This assay can not detect MSSA if MRSA is present.


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 results may occur from improper specimen collection, handling or storage, presence of inhibitor or because of 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.

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