Screening for MSSA is only done by prior arrangement with Microbiology. Please contact the department for further information if screening is required.



  • Dry swabs (no transport medium) and standard charcoal transport swabs are both suitable for MSSA screening, but dry swabs are cheaper
  • The following sites are screened:
    • nose and groin
    • any wounds (including umbilicus in neonates) and entry sites
    • urine (if catheterised)
    • sputum (if productive)
    • other swabs as directed by Infection Control Nurses
    • swabs from other sites (e.g. axilla, throat) will not be processed, unless these are required by another healthcare provider and this is made clear on the request form

Sample requirements

Dry swab red cap

Dry swab - these should only be used for MSSA screens. Moisten swabs with sterile saline or water before use.

Do not tip saline/water into the swab tube.

Black top charcoal swab

Standard charcoal transport swab

Place swab into transport medium

30ml universal container

30 mL sterile Universal for urine.

Urine samples sent in red capped 30 mL sterile universal containers are also accepted.

60ml wide-mouthed container

60 mL wide-mouthed container for sputum

Required information

  • Reason for screening e.g. admission, transfer, post-decolonisation check, contact
  • If testing is required for another heathcare provider


Store and transport at room temperature

Turnaround time

Negative: 1 - 2 days

Positive: 2 - 4 days