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Dorset County Hospital Enhances MRSA Surveillance Programme Through Rapid Patient Screening

Dorset County Hospital screens elective and Orthopaedic admissions patients in only 75 minutes using Cepheid's advanced Xpert(TM) MRSA technology

DORSET, England, Nov. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Dorset County Hospital (DCH) is working hard to reduce MRSA infections and, as part of that plan, has introduced enhanced MRSA surveillance. As part of the programme, DCH is screening all elective and orthopaedic admissions for MRSA. Screening enables hospitals to identify patients who carry the bacteria on their skin or nasal passages, i.e. colonised patients. This is important because MRSA bacteria can be easily transmitted from patient to patient and can lead to serious infections. Previously, screening technology took at least 24 hours by a process of growing the bacteria on culture plates. The Xpert(TM) MRSA test, which runs on Cepheid's GeneXpert(R) System, delivers DNA-based results in 75 minutes. This new rapid technology means DCH has enough time to identify colonised patients and make immediate decisions based on patient needs.

Dorset's MRSA Surveillance Programme includes:

-- Pre-surgical screening of all elective and orthopaedic admissions

-- Isolation of positive patients

-- Appropriate treatment for colonised patients prior to and during


Alison Tong, Director of Nursing and Infection Prevention and Control, says, "We are always looking for new ways to further prevent infection and improve patient care. Xpert MRSA rapid screening technology will vastly reduce the risks to patients admitted to Dorset County Hospital and I hope will provide further reassurance to the public that we are continually striving to minimise all risks to patients. It is so easy-to-use that we are now considering training non-laboratory technical staff to undertake some screening."

It has been estimated that about 5 in 100 people carry MRSA bacteria on their skin. In fact, the Health Protection Agency reported 1,805 infected patients within the UK from January to June 2008. The bacteria can enter the body through open wounds, injections, catheters and IV sites making in-hospital patients extremely susceptible to infection. People with weak immune systems are also more prone to the illnesses brought on by the bacteria, including blood poisoning, organ infection and lung infection. Owing to the risk carriers pose to themselves and other patients, the Department of Health has actually set out guidance for all elective patients to be screened by March 2009.

About Dorset County Hospital

Dorset County Hospital in Dorchester offers a full range of district general services, including an accident and emergency department, diabetic service and renal service. They are the main provider of acute hospital services to around 210,000 people living in Weymouth and Portland, West Dorset, North Dorset and Purbeck. DCH was recently rated "Excellent" by the Healthcare Commission for its quality of services and has also been rated one of the top trusts in England for reducing cases of MRSA.

About the GeneXpert(R) System Molecular Diagnostic Platform

The GeneXpert(R) System is a closed, self-contained, fully-integrated and automated platform that represents a paradigm shift in the automation of molecular analysis, producing accurate results in a timely manner with minimal risk of contamination. The GeneXpert(R) System is the only system to combine on-board sample preparation with real-time PCR (polymerase chain reaction) amplification and detection functions for fully integrated and automated nucleic acid analysis. The system is designed to purify, concentrate, detect and identify targeted nucleic acid sequences thereby delivering answers directly from unprocessed samples. Modular in design, the GeneXpert(R) System has a variety of configurations to meet the broad range of testing demands of any clinical environment.

For further information, please contact:

Nigel Smith/Laura Warner/Victoria Harvey

Schwartz Communications


T: 020 7268 3028

SOURCE Dorset County Hospital
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