Multicenter evaluation of the Xpert MRSA NxG assay for detection of methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus in nasal swabs

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Journal of Clinical Microbiology








Bacterial colonization; methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus; Nasal swab


Copyright © 2017 American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved. Health care-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections are a burden on the health care system. Clinical laboratories play a key role in reducing this burden, as the timely identification of MRSA colonization or infection facilitates infection control practices that are effective at limiting invasive MRSA infections. The Xpert MRSA NxG assay recently received FDA clearance for the direct detection of MRSA from nasal swabs. This multicenter study evaluated the clinical performance characteristics of the Xpert MRSA NxG assay with prospectively collected rayon nasal swabs (n 1,103) and flocked swab (ESwab) nasal specimens (n 846). Culture-based identification methods and antimicrobial susceptibility testing were used as the reference standards for comparison. According to the reference method, the positivity rates for MRSA in the population evaluated were 11.1% (122/1,103) for rayon swabs and 11.6% (98/846) for flocked swabs. The overall sensitivity and specificity of the rayon swabs were 91.0% (95% confidence interval [CI], 84.6 to 94.9%) and 96.9% (95% CI, 95.7 to 97.8%), respectively, across eight testing sites. The flocked swab specimens were 92.9% sensitive (95% CI, 86.0 to 96.5%) and 97.6% specific (95% CI, 96.2 to 98.5%) for MRSA detection across six testing sites. The sensitivity and specificity of the combined flocked and rayon swab data were 91.8% (95% CI, 87.4 to 94.8%) and 97.2% (95% CI, 96.3 to 97.9%), respectively. The positive predictive value (PPV) for rayon swabs was 78.7%, versus 83.5% for ESwabs. The negative predictive values (NPVs) for rayon swabs and ESwab specimens were 98.9% and 99.1%, respectively. In conclusion, the Xpert MRSA NxG assay is a sensitive and specific assay for the direct detection of MRSA from nasal swab specimens.