Screening staff for methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)

Nicholson T, Milne R, Stein K
Record ID 31998008894
Authors' objectives:

The authors assess the value of screening staff for methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) carriage in outbreak control. S. aureus is not a significant risk to healthy people, but patients with catheters, devices penetrating the skin and skin lesions (including surgical wounds) may develop serious infections, including pneumonia and septicaemia.

Authors' results and conclusions: One case series followed the course of an extended outbreak in the UK and concluded that staff screening has a limited role in outbreak control and that when screening resources are scarce screening patients should be the priority. One much quoted report advocates an active 'search and destroy' approach to MRSA on cost grounds.
Authors' recommendations: The authors consider that there is no good empirical evidence in the form of controlled trials of the benefits of staff screening: even the evidence from case series (notoriously prone to publication and other biases, they comment) is inconclusive and does not support staff screening. In conclusion, they say it is not possible to judge whether the benefits to patients and the NHS of staff screening outweigh the potential harm to staff and justify the costs to organisations.
Authors' methods: Review
Project Status: Completed
URL for project:
Year Published: 1997
English language abstract: An English language summary is available
Publication Type: Not Assigned
Country: England
MeSH Terms
  • Costs and Cost Analysis
  • Mass Screening
  • Medical Staff, Hospital
  • Surgical Wound Infection
  • Staphylococcal Infections
Organisation Name: Wessex Institute for Health Research and Development
Contact Address: Pauline King. Wessex Institute for Health Research and Development, Boldrewood Medical School, Bassett Crescent East, Highfield, Southampton. SO16 7PX Tel. +44 1703 595661 Fax +44 1703 595662
Copyright: Wessex Institute for Health Research and Development (WIHRD)
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