What is MRSA?

MRSA is a type of bacterial infection that is resistant to a number of widely used antibiotics. This means it can be more difficult to treat than other bacterial infections. The full name is Meticillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus. Staphylococcus Aureus is a common type of bacteria which is often carried on the skin, in the nostrils and throat. If the Staphylococcus bacteria get into a break in the skin it can cause a serious infection.

Why am I being screened for MRSA?

You are being screened to find out if you are a carrier of the bacteria that cause MRSA. This is to ensure you have the right treatment before your surgery and to make sure the infection does not spread.

How will I be screened?

You will have two swabs taken prior to your surgery, either at your  pre-assessment or on the day of  your admission. The screen involves a cotton bud like swab of your nostril and groin area.  This is a painless procedure and only takes a few seconds.

When do I get the results?

The results come back in 3 to 5 days.

What happens if the result is positive?

If the swabs come back positive for MRSA then you will be contacted prior to your surgery for treatment. This will not stop your operation going ahead, but it may be postponed until treatment has been completed. You will also be placed last on any operating list. If the results are negative then you will not hear back from us and your surgery will go ahead as usual.

What is the treatment prior to my surgery?

You will be given an antimicrobial wash called Octenisan to use for 5 days as well as some ointment to go into your nostrils. If you have any open wound then you will be prescribed antibiotics as well. You will also need to change your bed linen every day for 5 days.

What about people around me?

Carrying MRSA does not make you ill and you are not at risk to healthy people. Healthy older people, pregnant women and children are not usually affected by MRSA.

For further information please visit NHS choices at www.nhs.uk