MRSA stands for “Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus” and is a type of bacteria (germ) which is resistant to several antibiotics related to and including penicillin. It is carried harmlessly on the skin of some people in the general public, this is called colonised. We all carry bacteria and usually it doesn’t cause a problem. But when a person goes into hospital carrying MRSA and has a procedure that involves breaking the skin, then the MRSA can get in to the body and may cause an infection.
We screen all elective and emergency admissions for MRSA as per the Department of Health recommendations. We can find out if you are carrying MRSA by taking a sample, using a swab in your nose or on your skin. Swabs may be taken from different sites, such as the inside of your nose, your groin and if you have any wounds. A swab is a cotton bud which is placed on the area of skin to be tested (such as up your nose). The test is painless and only takes a few seconds.
If we find out you are carrying MRSA before you go into hospital we can use a simple topical treatment to get rid of as much of it as possible. This means the chances of you getting an MRSA infection, or passing MRSA on to another patient, are much smaller.