Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus Culture Screen

Supply #S02 - Amies Gel (blue cap)

Test Code: 90417

CPT Code: 87081

Methodology: Chrom Aagar method

Reference Range(s): No Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) isolated.

Clinical Significance: MRSA is a major cause of nosocomial and life-threatening infections. Infections with MRSA have been associated with a significantly high morbidity, mortality and cost. Selection of these organisms has been greatest in the health care setting. However, MRSA has also become more prevalent in the community.

To control the transmission of MRSA, the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) has recommended guidelines, which include an active surveillance to identify potential reservoirs and a rigorous infection control program to control the spread of MRSA.

Rapid, accurate, and cost-effective screening tests for MRSA colonization are needed in order to reduce the economic burden of this pathogen.

The MRSA Culture Screen test detects colonization with Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in patients and can be used as a tool in infection prevention and control efforts. Early detection of this pathogen can accelerate the isolation process, thus minimizing the spread of infections.

Collection Guide: 

Supply: S02 - Amies Gel (blue cap)

Preferred Specimen(s): Nasal swab


1. Use Amies gel transport medium (blue cap BD swab) to obtain the specimen. Culture both anterior nares (the opening of each nostril) utilizing one culture swab.

2. Insert a premoistened swab (sterile non-bacteriostatic saline or water) about 2 cm and rotate the swab against the nasal mucosa back and forth of each nostril for 3 seconds - slight pressure with a finger on the outside of the nose helps to assure good contact between the swab and the inside of the nose.


3. Swab the other anterior nare using the same swab.


4. Return swab back to the plastic transport tube and make sure the cap is on tight.

Skin Screen Collection Instructions:
  1. Use Amies gel swab (blue-cap) to obtain the specimen.
  2. Rub premoistened swab against skin (i.e. axilla, perianal and groin).
  3. Return swab back to the plastic transport tube and make sure the cap is tight.

Transport Container: Swab in Amies culture media

Transport Temperature: Room temperature

Specimen Stability:
  • Room Temperature: 48 hours
  • Refrigerated: 48 hours
  • Frozen: Unacceptable
Reject Criteria:
  • Received frozen
  • Specimens submitted in formalin
  • Specimens submitted in viral transport media
  • Dry swabs
  • Expired transport media
  • Specimens greater than 48 hours old

For additional supply or collection device information, please contact DLO's Customer Service at (800) 891-2917, option 2.

The CPT codes provided are based on AMA guidelines and are for informational purposes only. CPT coding is the sole responsibility of the billing party. Please direct any questions regarding coding to the Payor being billed.