To screen or not to screen for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.

NorthShore University HealthSystem, Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, 2650 Ridge Avenue, Walgreen Bldg., SB525, Evanston, IL 60201, USA.
Journal of clinical microbiology (Impact Factor: 4.23). 03/2010; 48(3):683-9. DOI: 10.1128/JCM.02516-09
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT There are few more compelling questions in clinical microbiology today than the issue of whether or not to screen for the presence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), with the results being used to institute infection control interventions aimed at preventing transmission of MRSA in health care environments. Numerous different matters must be addressed when considering a screening program. Who is to be screened, what method is to be employed to detect MRSA, and what sites should be sampled? When and how often should the screening be performed? Who is going to pay for the screening, and, finally and perhaps most importantly, how are screening results to be communicated to health care providers and what kind of interventions are best undertaken based on the results? Numerous governmental agencies have mandated MRSA screening programs, and yet several authorities in infection control organizations have questioned the appropriateness of mandated screening. In this Point-Counterpoint feature, Dr. Lance Peterson of Evanston Hospital (Evanston, IL) offers his perspective on why screening for MRSA is to be encouraged. Dr. Daniel Diekema of the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine (Iowa City, IA) offers an opposing view.

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