MRSA* is a major health problem in healthcare facilities around the world and measures are therefore taken to prevent the spread in healthcare facilities. The Swedish Communicable Diseases Act defines MRSA at a general health hazard. You are therefore duty-bound to follow the instructions that your doctor gives you.
Before taking part in direct patient care
As a student you are obliged to undergo MRSA screening before you can take part in direct patient care, if you meet any of the following criteria:
- you have had contact with medical care facilities outside the Nordic region, either as a patient or as staff in direct patient care, in the last six months.
- you have been in contact with an MRSA carrier, for example a member of your household/family.
- you have had contact with health care facilities in Sweden, either as a patient or as staff in direct patient care, where MRSA contagion is currently recorded, in the last six months.
While waiting for test results
You can take part in direct patient care while waiting for your test results, except if you have personal risk factors.
If you have personal risk factors such as cuts, eczema, other skin disorders or foreign material which penetrates the skin or mucous membrane, such as stoma, drainage, or a catheter (including indwelling), you should not take part in patient care activities while waiting for your test results. You can, however, carry out tasks which do not require close contact with patients.
If you are MRSA-positive
If you test positive for MRSA, the Student Health Centre will carry out further tests to find out if you are a transient carrier or if the colonization persists and you will be scheduled for an assessment by the Student Health Centre doctor. If you are colonized, follow-ups and further testing will from then on be dealt with by the MRSA team at Danderyd Hospital.
A positive test for MRSA in a student with personal risk factors or in a placement with a high-risk unit might mean temporary restrictions on their clinical training. Other than this, a positive MRSA test should not affect your training.
In high-risk units patients are particularly susceptible to infection with MRSA and the care carries major risk for spreading infection. High-risk units are mainly neonatal departments, burns units and transplant departments.
*MRSA (Meticillinresistenta Staphylococcus aureus) are strains of staphylococcus which are resistant to virtually all beta-lactam antibiotics. For this reason, MRSA infections can be difficult to treat. Just like other Staphylococcus aureus, MRSA can be present in normal skin and respiratory tract flora without causing infection.