Underestimation of Staphylococcus aureus carriage associated with standard culturing techniques

Jerry Tsang, Martin McHugh, Daniel Guerendiain, Peter Gwynne, Julia Boyd, Tim Walsh, Ian F Laurenson, Kate Templeton

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting abstractpeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Nasal carriers of methicillin sensitive Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA) have an increased risk for health-care associated infections. There is currently no national screening policy for the detection of MSSA in the UK. This study aimed to: evaluate the diagnostic performance of molecular and culture techniques in MSSA screening, determine the cause of any discrepancy between the diagnostic techniques, and model the potential effect of different diagnostic techniques on MSSA detection in orthopaedic patients. Paired nasal swabs for PCR assay and culture of S. aureus were collected from a study population of 273 orthopaedic outpatients due to undergo joint replacement surgery.

The prevalence of MSSA nasal colonisation was found to be between 22.4–35.6%. The current standard direct culturing methods for detecting S. aureus significantly underestimated the prevalence (p=0.005), failing to identify its presence in ∼1/3 of patients undergoing joint replacement surgery.

Modelling these results to national surveillance data, it was estimated that 800–1200 MSSA surgical site infections could be prevented annually in the UK by using alternative diagnostic methods to direct culture in pre-operative MSSA screening and eradication programmes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3
Number of pages1
JournalOrthopaedic Proceedings
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - 24 Nov 2017


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