Skip to main content

25 MAY, 2005

25/05/2005 - MRSA ID - bioMérieux’s latest contribution to the fight against nosocomial infections

Marcy l’Etoile, France - May 25th, 2005. A world leader in the field of in vitro diagnostics, bioMérieux SA announces the launch of a new product for rapid, reliable identification of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus, a common cause of nosocomial infections.

Among nosocomial (hospital-acquired) infections, those caused by Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) cause particular concern, since they are associated with high morbidity and mortality and are a significant burden on healthcare resources(1). Most frequently cross-transmitted between hospitalized patients through healthcare workers, MRSA is highly contagious and responsible for endemic infections which are very difficult to control.

In the fight against Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, screening for MRSA carriage on patient admission to hospital, together with isolation of MRSA-positive patients, is the most efficient measure to control the spread of MRSA infections. This strategy is recommended today by official organisations, such as the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA)(2).

Culture media methods now exist which can provide results within 24 to 48 hours. Among them, bioMérieux’s new product - MRSA ID – provides these rapid results and uses a combination of two principles:

  • identification of S. aureus bacteria directly on the culture medium based on the spontaneous green coloration produced by a specific enzyme of this bacteria (bioMérieux proprietary technology)
  • the use of cefoxitin(3), a recent method for the detection of methicillin resistance.

This product simplifies the screening process since direct visual observation of the colonies on the culture media enables identification of MRSA colonized or infected patients.

Using systematic screening to control the spread of MRSA is justified both on medical and economic grounds to reduce the number of MRSA infections, optimise the use of isolation beds, control the level of methicillin resistance among S. aureus and improve healthcare cost-effectiveness.

Nosocomial infections

Nosocomial or hospital-acquired infections (HAI) are a major healthcare issue. Their prevalence, estimated at around 10 % of hospitalized patients in developed countries, is constantly rising largely due to increasingly sophisticated medical treatment and surgical procedures.

Nosocomial infections are one of the 10 leading causes of mortality in developed countries. They often involve bacteria which are resistant to antibiotics, thereby complicating their treatment. Infections involving multi-drug resistant bacteria are a major concern for most hospitals and healthcare establishments, since they contribute to an increase in morbidity and mortality compared to the underlying diseases alone. They also impact length of stay and related healthcare costs.

The spread of nosocomial infections can be controlled by:

  • thorough hand washing,
  • isolation of infected or colonized patients based on the result of a diagnostic test or screening
  • rational usage of antibiotics.

It is considered that 20 to 40 % of these HAI are preventable(4).


  1.     Cosgrove SE., Sakoulas G., Perencevich EN., Schwaber MJ., Karchmer AW., Carmeli Y. Comparison of mortality associated with methicillin-resistant and methicillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus bacteremia: a meta-analysis. Clin Infect Dis. 2003 ; 36 :53-59
  2.     Muto CA., Jernigan JA., Ostrowsky BE., Richet HM., Jarvis WR., Boyce JM., Farr BR. SHEA Guideline for preventing nosocomial transmission of multidrug-resistant strains of Staphylococcus aureus and Enterococcus. Infect. Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2003; 24:363-386
  3.     Perry JD, Davies A, Butterworth LA, Hopley ALJ, Nicholson A, Gould FK. Development and Evaluation of a Chromogenic Agar Medium for Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Journal of Clinical Microbiology. 2004; 42: 10; 4519-4523
  4.   Wenzel R. et al. A guide to Infection Control in the Hospital, 1998

About bioMérieux

bioMérieux is a leading international diagnostics group that specialises in the field of in vitro diagnostics for clinical and industrial applications. bioMérieux designs, develops, manufactures and markets systems (i.e. reagents, instruments and software) used in:

  • Clinical applications: the diagnosis of infectious diseases such as hepatitis, HIV, tuberculosis and respiratory illnesses, as well as pathologies such as cardiovascular diseases and cancer, based on the analysis of biological samples (such as blood, saliva or urine); and
  • Industrial applications: the microbiological analysis of food, environments (such as water and air), surfaces and pharmaceutical and cosmetic products, based on the analysis of product or environmental samples.

In 2004, bioMérieux sales reached 931 million euros. The company is present in more than 130 countries through 33 subsidiaries and a large network of distributors, which positions the company well to benefit from the growth potential of the in vitro diagnostics market. Some important drivers that underpin this growth are aging populations and age-related illness, illnesses related to life-style and eating habits, emerging new pathogens, the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, the fight against bio-terrorism, the recognition of the importance of the quality of food products.

bioMérieux is listed on the Eurolist of Euronext, Paris (FR0010096479 – BIM).