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Published on May 14, 2008

Hospitals Recieve New Equipment to Screen for MRSA

May 14, 2008

MRSA Screening Equipment

Lynne Gruenwald, KCH medical technologist, uses
the new analyzer that screens ICU admissions for
the MRSA bacteria.

Kishwaukee Community Hospital and Valley West Community Hospital have implemented new technology that will rapidly screen all intensive care patients for the MRSA bacteria. New legislation in Illinois requires all hospitals to screen patients for MRSA upon ICU admittance and isolate those infected. KCH has taken the requirement one step further with the purchase of new equipment that will provide test results within two hours versus the traditional testing method which requires a 48 hour incubation period for the results to be complete.

MRSA, or Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus, is a type of bacteria that is resistant to many antibiotics. MRSA infections have historically been most prevalent in healthcare facilities (such as hospital, nursing homes and dialysis centers) among patients with weakened immune systems; however spread of this bacteria is growing in community settings.

The rapid testing equipment allows for several patient samples to be screened at once, which will provide faster turn-around time. The samples are obtained through nasal swabs.

According to Dorrie Kasmar, KCH Laboratory director, this screening will avoid unnecessary and costly isolation of ICU patients who’s screening result is negative, as results will be available in two hours versus 48 hours.

As required, this screening is being performed on all ICU patients and is not intended to diagnose MRSA in the general population, Kasmar said.

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