MRSA Culture Screen

Test Mnemonic


CPT Codes

  • 87081 - QTY (1)




  • Culture, MRSA
  • Methicillin Resistant Staph aureus Culture

Performing Laboratory

Cleveland Clinic Laboratories

Specimen Requirements

Volume Type Container Collect Temperature Transport Temperature Special Instructions
OneSwab(s)Swab AmbientAny site accepted. Collect with dual swab BD CultureSwab collection device with Stuart's Transport Medium.


Environmental Condition Description
Ambient48 hours

Days Performed

Sun - Sat

Turnaround Time

4 days


Name Description

Reference Range

Special Info

MRSA and MSSA screening is also available by PCR (SAPCR) for faster turnaround time but is limited to nares specimens. An alternative culture order is SANSAL which detects colonization with methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and methicillin susceptible S. aureus (MSSA).

Clinical Info

This test detects colonization with methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) by culture. An overnight broth enrichment step is included. Insert a sterile swab into the nose until resistance is met at the level of the turbinates (approximately 1-2 cm into one nostril). Rotate the swab against the nasal mucosa for 3 sec. Apply slight pressure with a finger on the outside of the nose to ensure good contact between swab and inside of nose. Using the same swab, repeat for the other nostril. Samples from other anatomic sites may be submitted.

Clinical Limitation

This test should not be used to diagnose and treat infections.

Clinical Reference

Negative for MRSA.