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Is Staphylococcal Screening and Suppression an Effective Interventional Strategy for Reduction of Surgical Site Infection? Surg Infect (Larchmt) 2016 Apr;17(2):158-66



Pubmed ID




Scopus ID

2-s2.0-84962549354   12 Citations


BACKGROUND: Staphylococcus aureus has been recognized as a major microbial pathogen for over 100 y, having the capacity to produce a variety of suppurative and toxigenic disease processes. Many of these infections are life-threatening, with particularly enhanced virulence in hospitalized patients with selective risk factors. Strains of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) have rapidly spread throughout the healthcare environment such that approximately 20% of S. aureus isolates recovered from surgical site infections are methicillin-resistant, (although this is now reducing following national screening and suppression programs and high impact interventions).

METHODS: Widespread nasal screening to identify MRSA colonization in surgical patients prior to admission are controversial, but selective, evidence-based studies have documented a reduction of surgical site infection (SSI) after screening and suppression.

RESULTS: Culture methods used to identify MRSA colonization involve selective, differential, or chromogenic media. These methods are the least expensive, but turnaround time is 24-48 h. Although real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) technology provides rapid turnaround (1-2 h) with exceptional testing accuracy, the costs can range from three to 10 times more than conventional culture methodology. Topical mupirocin, with or without pre-operative chlorhexidine showers or skin wipes, is the current "gold-standard" for nasal decolonization, but inappropriate use of mupirocin is associated with increasing staphylococcal resistance.

CONCLUSIONS: Selection of an effective active universal or targeted surveillance strategy should be based upon the relative risk of MSSA or MRSA surgical site infection in patients undergoing orthopedic or cardiothoracic device related surgical procedures.

Author List

Edmiston CE Jr, Ledeboer NA, Buchan BW, Spencer M, Seabrook GR, Leaper D


Blake W. Buchan PhD Associate Professor in the Pathology department at Medical College of Wisconsin
Nathan A. Ledeboer PhD Vice Chair, Professor in the Pathology department at Medical College of Wisconsin
Gary R. Seabrook MD Chief, Professor in the Surgery department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Anti-Bacterial Agents
Carrier State
Mass Screening
Staphylococcal Infections
Surgical Wound Infection
jenkins-FCD Prod-467 7c8a156729bba74d775d9c546792cde315827259