Govt. OKs fast MRSA test

January 2, 2008 3:21:32 PM PST
The Food & Drug Administratio has approved the first rapid blood test for the drug-resistant staph bacteria

The new test, called the BD GeneOhm StaphSR Assay gives results in 2 hours, not 2 days, as current tests do.

The test is able to distinguish between the less dangerous staph that's usually a skin infection, and the potentially deadly variety that gets into the blood stream.

"Rather than waiting more than two days for test results, health care personnel will be able to identify the source of staph infection in only two hours, allowing for more effective diagnosis and treatment," said Daniel Schultz, director of the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health.

Staph infections occur most frequently in hospitals and healthcare facilities such as nursing homes and dialysis centers. But experts have become concerned in recent years about the increasing number of infections among otherwise healthy individuals. Often, those infections show non-standard skin symptoms.