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Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus: laboratory detection methods in use in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.There is no universally agreed laboratory protocol for the detection of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and hence a variety of approaches are used. As part of an all-island survey of MRSA in the Republic of Ireland (the South) and Northern Ireland (the North), a questionnaire was circulated to 14 participating laboratories in the North and 49 in the South, to determine the methods used to isolate MRSA from clinical specimens, identify S. aureus and test for susceptibility to methicillin. Almost two-thirds (64%) of laboratories in the North but only 16% of laboratories in the South use enrichment culture. There is heavy reliance on commercial kits to confirm the identification of S. aureus in the South but all laboratories in the North use the staphylocoagulase test. More than 90% of all laboratories use a disc method for susceptibility testing and 71% of laboratories in the North supplement this with the E-test; however, a range of methicillin disk concentrations are in use. There is a need to review current laboratory methods used to detect MRSA, with follow-up audit on their implementation. Additional resources may be needed in some laboratories to comply with revised guidelines, and reference facilities are required to assess new commercially available techniques and to confirm the identification of unusual or difficult strains.