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May 7, 2021Print this page

How to do a MRSA Nasal Swab

Puritan Opti-Swab for MRSA Nasal Swabbing

Healthcare swabs are one of our specialties as a company. Through our research and interactions with many different types of healthcare providers, we have come to know how incredibly difficult and important their work is. Our goal is to make sure our swabs provide the end user with exactly what they need so they can always perform at the highest level.

In this article, we review what MRSA is, why using a nasal swab is the most effective method for MRSA testing, and how to do a MRSA nasal swab test.

What is MRSA?

MRSA are types of Staphylococcus aureus, or "staph," bacteria that is present in the nose of about 25-30% of U.S. adults. S. aureus is usually innocuous and asymptomatic, but sometimes when there is a break in someone's skin, or if someone's immune system is weakened, the bacteria can cause an infection. Unfortunately, certain strains of S. aureus have built up an immunity to many types of antibiotics over the years. These strains can cause skin infections at a minimum; pneumonia, bloodstream infections, or infections at a surgical site are at the severe end of the spectrum.

MRSA is contagious both by person-to-person contact and when a contaminated person touches objects or surfaces and leaves bacteria that can be transferred. Around 126,000 people are hospitalized and 19,000 die each year because of the bacteria. 

MRSA Nasal Swabs

According to the American Society for Microbiology, nasal swabs have higher MRSA detection rates than do axillary and groin swabs. Further, studies have shown "best results are obtained by using a flocked swab in combination with Amies transport medium."  Flocked swabs provide better sample collection due to their brush-like tip, which releases higher numbers of target cells and retains more liquid sample than foam swabs.

Our Opti-Swab sterile swabs were designed for the collection and transport of clinically significant bacteria. The high-performance swab tip features our patented HydraFlock swab with a molded breakpoint that makes sampling fast, safe, and convenient. Each is packaged with a vial that contains 1 ml of Amies medium for elution.

How to Swab for MRSA

Once a swab and transport medium, like Puritan's Opti-Swab Media Transport System, are selected, the tester should wash his or her hands and put on clean gloves. The Center for Disease Control then outlines the following steps:

  1. Twist to remove the cap from the transport tube.
  2. Remove the swab.
  3. Insert the swab approximately 2 cm (approximately 3/4 inches) into one nostril.
  4. Rotate the swab against the anterior nasal mucosa for 3 seconds.
  5. Using the same swab, repeat for the other nostril.
  6. Place swab back into the transport tube.
  7. Place the end of the swab firmly to ensure the swab tip comes in contact with the moistened pledget.
  8. Secure the transport tube cap. 

Hospitals and clinics may advise nurses to use other mediums and methods, but our hope is to provide a valuable resource for those who use Puritan products. It's the least we can do considering your time and sacrifice spent helping others. So thank you and Happy Nurses Week! 

Still have questions about swabbing for MRSA, or about other Puritan disposable medical products? Contact us today!

Publishing how-to guides, like "How to Swab for the Flu" and "How to Collect a Throat Swab Specimen", is one way we provide support to the end users of our products. Many of these methods are used by nurses with our products on a daily basis.


Topics: Media Transport Systems, Medical, Diagnostics, Specimen Collection Procedure


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