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August 15, 2012

The Clay County Medical Center (CCMC) Laboratory adds a new molecular diagnostic testing platform, which offers a comprehensive approach to disease prevention and infection control with the recent acquisition of the GeneXpert System.Molecular Equipment

This technology will enable our medical providers to identify and treat diseases much earlier than ever before.  The equipment provides a lab in a cartridge. All aspects of the testing process are handled within the cartridge chambers — from sample preparation and DNA extraction to amplification and detection.

The GeneXpert System detects the DNA of the life-threatening Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Clostridium difficile and the epidemic 027/NAP1/B1 strain (known to produce a significantly higher number of spores and toxins causing hospital outbreaks worldwide).

“This will tremendously aid in the active MRSA and C. difficile surveillance and is projected to reduce hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) in our facility. At the same time, it will improve patient management and reduce length of stay (LOS),”
said Ruth Magalong Dela Cruz, MT(AMT) Laboratory Manager.

Along with MRSA and C. difficile, the DNA of Group B Streptococcus (GBS) is also detected using this system. GBS is a leading cause of infant mortality and serious neonatal infections such as sepsis, pneumonia and meningitis. Transmission of GBS occurs from GBS-colonized women to their babies during childbirth.  With this new technology, GBS colonization status at the time of labor and delivery will be identified, neonatal early-onset GBS infections will decrease and intrapartum antibiotic prophylaxis will be limited to only those who need it.

"With MRSA rates escalating, our hospital is committed to adopting the most effective practices to prevent the spread of infection and improve patient care, " says Sara Beikman, RN, BSN, Employee Health/Infection Control Nurse. "In medicine, time is often the enemy. Having accurate test results in one hour makes a huge difference, because it enables physicians to immediately prescribe treatment protocols and antibiotics that target the specific infection, rather than administering a wide-spectrum antibiotic which may not be necessary."

Testing for MRSA and other pathogens allows for early treatment, as well as proactively protects its spread among patients and in the community. Disease surveillance programs, isolation of carriers and administering targeted antibiotics are the most effective ways to reduce hospital-acquired infections.

CCMC will begin testing patients using the new technology by the end of August, and plans to make the GeneXpert System available as a service to neighboring Critical Access Hospitals.

Lab Staff


Pictured Back L to R: Ruth Magalong Dela Cruz, MT(AMT) Laboratory Manager, Sara Nang Finnegan, MLT, and Evelyn Diederich, MT
Picture Front Center: Amee Herrs, MT

Not Pictured: Cathy Enrera,MT; Frannie Helms,MLT; Margie Wagner,MLT; Nancy McIntosh,MLT (PRN)