MRSA – Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus – Confirmation

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Specimen Collection and Handling

Specimen Requirements

Test Requested Required Requisition(s) Specimen Type Minimum Volume Collection Kit

MRSA – Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus confirmation

Pure viable subculture of the organism on appropriate media  (eg Blood Agar) or a swab of a pure subculture in Amies transport medium2,3


Submission and Collection Notes


Complete all fields on the Reference Bacteriology Requisition, including:

  • test Requested 
  • specimen source
  • culture information
  • presumptive identification
  • clinical/epidemiology information

If a swab is received the TAT will be delayed by at least 24 hours.


Primary cultures are unacceptable; they should be processed in the originating lab and will be rejected


Mixed or non-viable cultures will not be tested. The submitter will be contacted by telephone. A written report will be issued to indicate that the test has been rejected.

Mis-labelled or un-labelled specimens will not be tested. A report will be sent stating “Specimen received un-labelled” or “Requisition identification does not match the specimen identification information. Please resubmit.

Storage and Transport

Label the specimen with the patient’s full name, date of collection and one other unique identifier such as the patient’s date of birth or Health Card Number.Failure to provide this information may result in rejection or testing delay.

Place specimen in biohazard bag and seal. Specimen should be transferred to the laboratory within 48 hours of collection.

Special Instructions

Transport a fresh subculture to ensure viability on receipt.

Requisitions and Kit Ordering

Test Frequency and Turnaround Time (TAT)

Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus cultures are tested Monday - Friday. 

Turnaround time is 3-5 days.

Test Methods

All aerobic bacterial  isolates are identified/confirmed by the following methods:

  • gram stain
  • catalase
  • phenotypic and/or molecular methods


Results are reported to the ordering physician or health care provider as indicated on the requisition.


LAB-SD-125, Reference Bacteriology and Antimicrobial Susceptibility: New Requisition and Testing Algorithm for Improved Test Utilization

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Updated 25 Sep 2019