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We compared the LightCycler MRSA advanced test (Roche Diagnostics, Germany) with enrichment culture methods to evaluate the relative diagnostic performance of the LightCycler MRSA advanced test for active surveillance in a high-prevalence setting.
A total of 342 nasal swab specimens were obtained from patients in the intensive care unit at admission and on the seventh day for follow-up. The results of LightCycler MRSA advanced test were compared to those of the enrichment culture. For discrepant results, mecA gene PCR was performed.
For the detection of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), the LightCycler MRSA advanced test showed 98.5% sensitivity and 78.6% specificity and had positive and negative predictive values of 75.0% and 98.8%, respectively. A total of 46 samples had discrepant results between the LightCycler MRSA advanced test and enrichment culture. Of the 44 specimens that were positive in the LightCycler MRSA advanced test but negative by enrichment culture, mecA genes were detected in 37 specimens. In addition, of the original 44 cases, 21 patients had a history of MRSA colonization or infection within the last month; of those 21 specimens, 20 were positive for mecA gene as shown by PCR. Seven mecA-negative discrepant specimens comprised 3 methicillin-sensitive S. aureus-culture positive and only 2 patients had MRSA infections.
Despite its low specificity and positive predictive value, the LightCycler MRSA advanced test could serve as a rapid test for patients colonized with MRSA.