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How to use your MRSA screening test

Patient information

Instructions:

Please read these instructions before carrying out the test. Please carry out this test in the toilet. There is more information about MRSA and the test on the other side of this sheet.

First, wash your hands.

Nose:

  1. Peel open one of the swab packets.
  2. Remove the top of the white transport tube.
  3. Remove the swab by grasping the black top. Do not touch the length of the swab or the white cotton bud.
  4. Insert the white cotton bud into your nose and gently rotate around the nostril.
  5. Repeat with the other nostril (using the same swab).
  6. Insert swab into the white transport tube, and push cap down firmly to close.

Throat:

  1. Peel open a second swab packet.
  2. Remove the top of the white transport tube.
  3. Remove the swab by grasping the black top. Do not touch the length of the swab or the white cotton bud.
  4. Insert the white cotton bud into the back of your mouth and gently rotate around the tonsil area.
  5. Insert swab into the white transport tube, and push cap down firmly to close.

Groin:

  1. Lift/ lower your clothing so that you can reach your groin area.
  2. Peel open the last swab packet.
  3. Remove the top of the white transport tube
  4. Remove the swab by grasping the black top. Do not touch the length of the swab or the white cotton bud.
  5. Move white cotton bud several times across the skin in the crease of your groin (the area between your leg and knickers)
  6. Repeat on the other side of your groin (using the same swab)
  7. Insert swab into the white transport tube, and push cap down firmly to close. Check that the three printed stickers have your correct name and date of birth on them, and stick one to each tube. Put all three tubes into the plastic bag, and give to a member of staff in the blood test area (phlebotomy). Throw away the three empty packets and caps.

More information about MRSA:

What is MRSA? MRSA stands for Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a common germ/ bug (bacteria), that three in ten of us carry naturally. MRSA is a particular type of S. aureus that has developed resistance to methicillin, a type of penicillin, as well as many other types of antibiotics. 'Resistance' means that it is not killed by the antibiotic. Most of the time MRSA just sits on the skin without causing a problem but if it enters the body through an open wound for example it may cause an infection.

Why do I need a MRSA screen? If we can find out whether you are carrying MRSA harmlessly on your skin or up your nose before an operation or when you are admitted to hospital, we can then plan your care more effectively. When people are treated for MRSA they recover much better and chances of other patients picking up the organism are greatly reduced.

What is a MRSA screen? You can take your own swabs from your nose, throat and groin, and they will be sent to the laboratory. Results from these swabs will take a few days to process. If the swabs are negative you will not hear from us again but please feel free to ask for the results. “No news is good news.”

What happens if my swabs are positive? If you are found to be carrying MRSA do not worry! You are unlikely to suffer any harm or pass it on to anyone else. Your caesarean will still go ahead as planned, and it will not delay you going home.

If you are on the ward when the results come back, the Infection control team nurses will explain what will happen next. You will be given a written information leaflet to read and you will have the opportunity to discuss your questions or concerns with the infection control nurse.

Sometimes positive swab results come through after you have been discharged or your procedure has been completed. You will receive a letter asking you to contact your GP practice to discuss further treatment and follow-up.

What would the treatment be? If you are found to be MRSA positive you will be given skin (topical) treatment. This treatment will last for seven days. It involves washing your skin and hair with an antiseptic soap and applying a cream to the inside of your nose. We encourage you to change all your sheets, pillowcases and towels at the beginning and end of the treatment if you are able. Once the treatment is complete, wait for (at least) two days and arrange with your GP for some more swabs to be taken. This should be repeated twice more at weekly intervals.

For further information about MRSA contact:

  • Your GP
  • The infection control nurses Tel: 01223 217497 (or hospital extension 217497).
  • Alternatively you can contact NHS Direct on 0845 4647

We are smoke-free

Smoking is not allowed anywhere on the hospital campus. For advice and support in quitting, contact your GP or the free NHS stop smoking helpline on 0800 169 0 169.

Other formats

Help accessing this information in other formats is available. To find out more about the services we provide, please visit our patient information help page (see link below) or telephone 01223 256998. www.cuh.nhs.uk/contact-us/accessible-information/

Contact us

Cambridge University Hospitals
NHS Foundation Trust
Hills Road, Cambridge
CB2 0QQ

Telephone +44 (0)1223 245151
https://www.cuh.nhs.uk/contact-us/contact-enquiries/