MRSA/Staph aureus Culture Screen

Test Mnemonic


CPT Codes

  • 87081 - QTY (1)




  • Methicillin Resistant Staph aureus Screen
  • MRSA Staph aureus Culture Screen
  • Staph aureus culture
  • Staph aureus screen

Performing Laboratory

Cleveland Clinic Laboratories

Specimen Requirements

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


Environmental Condition Description
Ambient48 hours

Days Performed

Sun - Sat

Turnaround Time

7 days


Name Description
Culture, Identification 

Reference Range

Special Info

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 Info

This screening culture detects colonization with methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and methicillin susceptible S. aureus (MSSA). An overnight broth enrichment step is included. This test should not be used to diagnose and treat infections. MRSA and MSSA screening is also available by PCR (SAPCR) for faster turnaround time but is limited to nares specimens.