Methicillin Resistant and Sensitive Staph Aureus, PCR, Nasal Swab

Abbrev Code:MRSAPCR   
Order Code:LAB5702Order Name:Methicillin Resist/Sens S Aureus PCR
Synonyms:Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus; MRSA by PCR
Methodology:Real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR)
CPT Codes: 87641 x1, 87640 x1
Turnaround Time:Performed 7 days/week and reported within 24 hours.
Associated Links:

IDDL (Microbiology/Virology) Collection Container Guidelines

Collection Instructions

Specimen:Nasal Swab
Container:CoPan ESwab with larger swab
Alternate Containers: CoPan ESwab with smaller swab
Collection Instructions:

All Patients: Must clear mucus and/or blow nose before specimen collection. Have patient tilt head back. Using the same swabs for left and right anterior nares, insert swab 1-2 cm in each nostril. Rotate swabs against the inside of the nostril for 3 seconds. Apply slight pressure with a finger on the outside of the nose for good contact.


Causes for Rejection:Wooden swabs. Specimen source other than nares.
Per assay package insert: 
  • Inhibition of the Nasal Complete Assay resulting in invalid test results has been observed in the presence of inhaled nasal steroids Flonase and Nasonex in S. aureus negative samples at concentrations greater than 5% v/v and 10% v/v respectively.
  • Inhibition of the Nasal Complete Assay resulting in false negative test results has been observed in the presence of inhaled nasal steroids Flonase and Nasonex in Methicillin resistant S. aureus positive samples at concentrations greater than 1% v/v and 5% v/v respectively.
  • There may be an association with false positive results in specimens containing blood.

Processing and Shipping

Specimen Processing:Store at refrigerated temperature for up to 5 days. Stable at room temperature for 24 hours.
Shipping Instructions:Ship at refrigerated temperature.
Test Performed at or Referral Lab Infectious Diseases Diagnostic Laboratory   (UMMC East Bank)


Reference Range:
Negative for methicillin resistant S. aureus by PCR.  
Use:For screening children and adults admitted to the high risk units, e.g., medical surgical or ICU, with anticipated long stays. Also for screening patients from families with MRSA and patients from long-term care units and/or nursing homes. For screening pre-surgical patients for whom Staphylococcus aureus may pose a risk of pneumonia or post-operative wound infection.
Susceptibility testing is available for patients who are positive for MRSA by PCR. If susceptibility testing is required, this should be requested at the time of test order in EPIC.

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