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1.  Genotypic Resistance Testing Creates New Treatment Challenges: Two Cases of Oxacillin-Susceptible Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2012;50(12):4151-4153.
Oxacillin-susceptible, mecA-positive Staphylococcus aureus isolates create a treatment challenge for the clinician. In this article, we describe two cases of bacteremia from isolates that carried the mecA gene but were susceptible to oxacillin (oxacillin-susceptible methicillin-resistant S. aureus [OS-MRSA]). DNA microarray analysis was used to characterize these isolates as a mecA-positive, clonal complex 5, pediatric strain and a mecA-positive, clonal complex 8, USA300 strain.
doi:10.1128/JCM.01564-12
PMCID: PMC3502964  PMID: 22993184
2.  Clinical Impact of a Real-Time PCR Assay for Rapid Identification of Staphylococcal Bacteremia 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2012;50(1):127-133.
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of real-time PCR reporting both on timely identification of clustered Gram-positive cocci (GPC) in blood cultures and on appropriate antibiotic treatment. This retrospective, interventional cohort study evaluated inpatients with blood cultures positive for GPC in the pre-PCR (15 January 2009 to 14 January 2010) and post-PCR (15 January 2010 to 14 January 2011) periods. Post-PCR implementation, laboratory services completed batched PCR; results other than methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) were reported in the electronic medical record without additional interventions. The assay's sensitivity and specificity, time to identification of staphylococcal bacteremia, and clinically relevant outcomes, including time to optimal antibiotic therapy, were evaluated. Demographic information was also collected and analyzed. Sixty-eight and 58 patients with Staphylococcus aureus bacteremia from the pre- and post-PCR periods, respectively, met inclusion criteria. Similar numbers of consecutive patients with coagulase-negative staphylococci were analyzed for comparison. The time to identification was significantly reduced post-PCR implementation (mean, 13.2 h; 95% confidence interval [95% CI], 10.5 to 15.9 h; P < 0.0001). However, the time to optimal antibiotic therapy was not significantly reduced. We conclude that implementation of a PCR assay demonstrated the potential to improve appropriate antibiotic use based on clinically meaningful and statistically significant reductions in the time to microbiologic identification. However, in order to realize this potential benefit, processes must be optimized and additional interventions initiated to facilitate providers' use of the PCR result.
doi:10.1128/JCM.06169-11
PMCID: PMC3256728  PMID: 22075595
3.  Diagnosing Periprosthetic Infection: False-positive Intraoperative Gram Stains 
Background
Intraoperative Gram stains have a reported low sensitivity but high specificity when used to help diagnose periprosthetic infections. In early 2008, we recognized an unexpectedly high frequency of apparent false-positive Gram stains from revision arthroplasties.
Questions/purposes
The purpose of this report is to describe the cause of these false-positive test results.
Methods
We calculated the sensitivity and specificity of all intraoperative Gram stains submitted from revision arthroplasty cases during a 3-month interval using microbiologic cultures of the same samples as the gold standard. Methods of specimen harvesting, handling, transport, distribution, specimen processing including tissue grinding/macerating, Gram staining, and interpretation were studied. After a test modification, results of specimens were prospectively collected for a second 3-month interval, and the sensitivity and specificity of intraoperative Gram stains were calculated.
Results
The retrospective review of 269 Gram stains submitted from revision arthroplasties indicated historic sensitivity and specificity values of 23% and 92%, respectively. Systematic analysis of all steps of the procedure identified Gram-stained but nonviable bacteria in commercial broth reagents used as diluents for maceration of periprosthetic membranes before Gram staining and culture. Polymerase chain reaction and sequencing showed mixed bacterial DNA. Evaluation of 390 specimens after initiating standardized Millipore filtering of diluent fluid revealed a reduced number of positive Gram stains, yielding 9% sensitivity and 99% specificity.
Conclusions
Clusters of false-positive Gram stains have been reported in other clinical conditions. They are apparently rare related to diagnosing periprosthetic infections but have severe consequences if used to guide treatment. Even occasional false-positive Gram stains should prompt review of laboratory methods. Our observations implicate dead bacteria in microbiologic reagents as potential sources of false-positive Gram stains.
doi:10.1007/s11999-010-1589-9
PMCID: PMC3048255  PMID: 20882377
4.  Improved Detection of Biofilm-formative Bacteria by Vortexing and Sonication: A Pilot Study 
Bacteria such as staphylococci commonly encountered in orthopaedic infections form biofilms and adhere to bone implants and cements. Various methods to disrupt the biofilm and enhance bacterial detection have been reported. We will describe the effectiveness of vortexing and sonication to improve the detection of biofilm-formative bacteria from polymethylmethacrylate by conventional quantitative bacterial culture and real-time quantitative PCR. We used a single biofilm-formative Staphylococcus aureus strain and 20 polymethylmethacrylate coupons as an in vitro biofilm model; four coupons were used for each of two control groups or three experimental sonication times (1, 5, and 30 minutes). Vortexing the cement without sonication increased the yield of adherent bacteria to a considerable extent. The combination of vortexing and sonication further enhanced the yield regardless of the duration of sonication. Quantitative conventional cultures correlated with quantitative PCR assay. The combination of vortexing and sonication to disrupt the bacterial biofilm followed by quantitative PCR and/or culture seems to be a sensitive method for detecting bacteria adherent to bone cement.
doi:10.1007/s11999-008-0609-5
PMCID: PMC2664413  PMID: 18989729
5.  Characterization of blaKPC-containing Klebsiella pneumoniae isolates detected in different institutions in the Eastern USA 
Background
The emergence of blaKPC-containing Klebsiella pneumoniae (KPC-Kp) isolates is attracting significant attention. Outbreaks in the Eastern USA have created serious treatment and infection control problems. A comparative multi-institutional analysis of these strains has not yet been performed.
Methods
We analysed 42 KPC-Kp recovered during 2006–07 from five institutions located in the Eastern USA. Antimicrobial susceptibility tests, analytical isoelectric focusing (aIEF), PCR and sequencing of bla genes, PFGE and rep-PCR were performed.
Results
By in vitro testing, KPC-Kp isolates were highly resistant to all non-carbapenem β-lactams (MIC90s ≥ 128 mg/L). Among carbapenems, MIC50/90s were 4/64 mg/L for imipenem and meropenem, 4/32 mg/L for doripenem and 8/128 for ertapenem. Combinations of clavulanate or tazobactam with a carbapenem or cefepime did not significantly lower the MIC values. Genetic analysis revealed that the isolates possessed the following bla genes: blaKPC-2 (59.5%), blaKPC-3 (40.5%), blaTEM-1 (90.5%), blaSHV-11 (95.2%) and blaSHV-12 (50.0%). aIEF of crude β-lactamase extracts from these strains supported our findings, showing β-lactamases at pIs of 5.4, 7.6 and 8.2. The mean number of β-lactamases was 3.5 (range 3–5). PFGE demonstrated that 32 (76.2%) isolates were clonally related (type A). Type A KPC-Kp isolates (20 blaKPC-2 and 12 blaKPC-3) were detected in each of the five institutions. rep-PCR showed patterns consistent with PFGE.
Conclusions
We demonstrated the complex β-lactamase background of KPC-Kp isolates that are emerging in multiple centres in the Eastern USA. The prevalence of a single dominant clone suggests that interstate transmission has occurred.
doi:10.1093/jac/dkn547
PMCID: PMC2640158  PMID: 19155227
carbapenemases; ESBLs; Enterobacteriaceae; PFGE; rep-PCR
6.  Efficiency of the Ortho VITROS Assay for Detection of Hepatitis C Virus-Specific Antibodies Increased by Elimination of Supplemental Testing of Samples with Very Low Sample-to-Cutoff Ratios 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2005;43(5):2477-2480.
The clinical significance of specimens with low sample-to-cutoff (S/Co) ratios in the Ortho VITROS chemiluminescence assay (CIA) for detection of antibodies to hepatitis C virus (HCV) was evaluated. In one study of 482 CIA-reactive samples, none of the 83 samples with S/Co ratios of <5 was HCV RNA positive. In a subsequent study, 332 samples with S/Co ratios of between 1 and 20 were tested with the recombinant immunoblot assay (RIBA). None of the 163 samples with S/Co ratios of <5 was RIBA positive, 83% were RIBA negative, and 28 samples (18%) were RIBA indeterminate. HCV RNA and/or clinical evidence of hepatitis was not found in the 27 indeterminate cases examined. These results show that over 99% of samples with very low S/Co ratios (≤5) have no evidence of HCV infection. Therefore, we suggest that the HCV antibody testing algorithm for the VITROS assay might be modified to eliminate supplemental testing of samples with very low S/Co ratios.
doi:10.1128/JCM.43.5.2477-2480.2005
PMCID: PMC1153771  PMID: 15872288
7.  Ineffectiveness of Topoisomerase Mutations in Mediating Clinically Significant Fluoroquinolone Resistance in Escherichia coli in the Absence of the AcrAB Efflux Pump 
Fluoroquinolone-resistant mutants, selected from a wild-type Escherichia coli K-12 strain and its Mar mutant by exposure to increasing levels of ofloxacin on solid medium, were analyzed by Northern (RNA) blot analysis, sequencing, and radiolabelled ciprofloxacin accumulation studies. Mutations in the target gene gyrA (DNA gyrase), the regulatory gene marR, and additional, as yet unidentified genes (genes that probably affect efflux mediated by the multidrug efflux pump AcrAB) all contributed to fluoroquinolone resistance. Inactivation of the acrAB locus made all strains, including those with target gene mutations, hypersusceptible to fluoroquinolones and certain other unrelated drugs. These studies indicate that, in the absence of the AcrAB pump, gyrase mutations fail to produce clinically relevant levels of fluoroquinolone resistance.
PMCID: PMC89620  PMID: 10602715
8.  Overexpression of the marA or soxS Regulatory Gene in Clinical Topoisomerase Mutants of Escherichia coli 
The contribution of regulatory genes to fluoroquinolone resistance was studied with clinical Escherichia coli strains bearing mutations in gyrA and parC and with different levels of fluoroquinolone resistance. Expression of marA and soxS was evaluated by Northern blot analysis of isolates that demonstrated increased organic solvent tolerance, a phenotype that has been linked to overexpression of marA, soxS, and rob. Among 25 cyclohexane-tolerant strains detected by a screen for increased organic solvent tolerance (M. Oethinger, W. V. Kern, J. D. Goldman, and S. B. Levy, J. Antimicrob. Chemother. 41:111–114, 1998), we found 5 Mar mutants and 4 Sox mutants. A further Mar mutant was detected among 11 fluoroquinolone-resistant, cyclohexane-susceptible E. coli strains used as controls. Comparison of the marOR sequences of clinical Mar mutants with that of E. coli K-12 (GenBank accession no. M96235) revealed point mutations in marR in all mutants which correlated with loss of repressor function as detected in a marO::lacZ transcriptional assay. We found four other amino acid changes in MarR that did not lead to loss of function. Two of these changes, present in 20 of the 35 sequenced marOR fragments, identified a variant genotype of marOR. Isolates with the same gyrA and parC mutations showed increased fluoroquinolone resistance when the mutations were accompanied by overexpression of marA or soxS. These data support the hypothesis that high-level fluoroquinolone resistance involves mutations at several chromosomal loci, comprising structural and regulatory genes.
PMCID: PMC105868  PMID: 9687412

Results 1-8 (8)