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1.  Evaluation of the Bruker MALDI Biotyper for Identification of Fastidious Gram-Negative Rods 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2016;54(3):543-548.
Matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization−time of flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) has entered clinical laboratories, facilitating identification of bacteria. Here, we evaluated the MALDI Biotyper (Bruker Daltonics) for the identification of fastidious Gram-negative rods (GNR). Three sample preparation methods, direct colony transfer, direct transfer plus on-target formic acid preparation, and ethanol-formic acid extraction, were analyzed for 151 clinical isolates. Direct colony transfer applied with the manufacturer's interpretation criteria resulted in overall species and genus identification rates of 43.0% and 32.5%, respectively; 23.2% of the isolates were not identified, and two misidentifications (1.3%) were observed. The species identification rates increased to 46.4% and 53.7% for direct transfer plus formic acid preparation and ethanol-formic acid extraction, respectively. In addition, we evaluated score value cutoff alterations. The identification rates hardly increased by reducing the genus cutoff, while reducing the 2.0 species cutoff to 1.9 and to 1.8 increased the identification rates to up to 66.2% without increasing the rate of misidentifications. This study shows that fastidious GNR can reliably be identified using the MALDI Biotyper. However, the identification rates do not reach those of nonfastidious GNR such as the Enterobacteriaceae. In addition, two approaches optimizing the identification of fastidious GNR by the MALDI Biotyper were demonstrated: formic acid-based on-target sample treatment and reductions in cutoff scores to increase the species identification rates.
PMCID: PMC4767947  PMID: 26659214
2.  Performance of Copan WASP for Routine Urine Microbiology 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2016;54(3):585-592.
This study compared a manual workup of urine clinical samples with fully automated WASPLab processing. As a first step, two different inocula (1 and 10 μl) and different streaking patterns were compared using WASP and InoqulA BT instrumentation. Significantly more single colonies were produced with the10-μl inoculum than with the 1-μl inoculum, and automated streaking yielded significantly more single colonies than manual streaking on whole plates (P < 0.001). In a second step, 379 clinical urine samples were evaluated using WASP and the manual workup. Average numbers of detected morphologies, recovered species, and CFUs per milliliter of all 379 urine samples showed excellent agreement between WASPLab and the manual workup. The percentage of urine samples clinically categorized as positive or negative did not differ between the automated and manual workflow, but within the positive samples, automated processing by WASPLab resulted in the detection of more potential pathogens. In summary, the present study demonstrates that (i) the streaking pattern, i.e., primarily the number of zigzags/length of streaking lines, is critical for optimizing the number of single colonies yielded from primary cultures of urine samples; (ii) automated streaking by the WASP instrument is superior to manual streaking regarding the number of single colonies yielded (for 32.2% of the samples); and (iii) automated streaking leads to higher numbers of detected morphologies (for 47.5% of the samples), species (for 17.4% of the samples), and pathogens (for 3.4% of the samples). The results of this study point to an improved quality of microbiological analyses and laboratory reports when using automated sample processing by WASP and WASPLab.
PMCID: PMC4767997  PMID: 26677255
3.  Evaluation of the Rapidec Carba NP Test for Detection of Carbapenemases in Enterobacteriaceae 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2015;53(12):3828-3833.
This study evaluated the performance of the Rapidec Carba NP test, which was introduced recently into the market for the detection of carbapenemase production in a broad spectrum of β-lactamase-producing Enterobacteriaceae clinical isolates. In total, 252 clinical Enterobacteriaceae isolates that had been genetically characterized with respect to carbapenemase, extended-spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL), and AmpC genes were analyzed; 51/252 isolates (20.2%) were genetically confirmed to be carbapenemase producers, whereas 201/252 isolates (79.8%) were genetically negative for the presence of carbapenemase genes. The Rapidec Carba NP test was applied according to the manufacturer's instructions, and results were read after 30 and 120 min of incubation. The overall sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV), and negative predictive value (NPV) of the Rapidec Carba NP test were 90.2%, 100%, 100%, and 97.6%, respectively, when the manufacturer's instructions were followed. Four of 5 false-negative results occurred with OXA-48-like enzymes. After an incubation time of 30 min, the sensitivity was 49%. The sensitivity increased to 100% when the recommended bacterial inoculum was doubled and the test was read strictly after 120 min of incubation. The Rapidec Carba NP test is a useful tool for the reliable confirmation of carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae isolates. The test should be read strictly after 120 min of incubation and the inoculum should be larger than recommended by the manufacturer.
PMCID: PMC4652093  PMID: 26424840
4.  Standardization of Operator-Dependent Variables Affecting Precision and Accuracy of the Disk Diffusion Method for Antibiotic Susceptibility Testing 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2015;53(12):3864-3869.
Parameters like zone reading, inoculum density, and plate streaking influence the precision and accuracy of disk diffusion antibiotic susceptibility testing (AST). While improved reading precision has been demonstrated using automated imaging systems, standardization of the inoculum and of plate streaking have not been systematically investigated yet. This study analyzed whether photometrically controlled inoculum preparation and/or automated inoculation could further improve the standardization of disk diffusion. Suspensions of Escherichia coli ATCC 25922 and Staphylococcus aureus ATCC 29213 of 0.5 McFarland standard were prepared by 10 operators using both visual comparison to turbidity standards and a Densichek photometer (bioMérieux), and the resulting CFU counts were determined. Furthermore, eight experienced operators each inoculated 10 Mueller-Hinton agar plates using a single 0.5 McFarland standard bacterial suspension of E. coli ATCC 25922 using regular cotton swabs, dry flocked swabs (Copan, Brescia, Italy), or an automated streaking device (BD-Kiestra, Drachten, Netherlands). The mean CFU counts obtained from 0.5 McFarland standard E. coli ATCC 25922 suspensions were significantly different for suspensions prepared by eye and by Densichek (P < 0.001). Preparation by eye resulted in counts that were closer to the CLSI/EUCAST target of 108 CFU/ml than those resulting from Densichek preparation. No significant differences in the standard deviations of the CFU counts were observed. The interoperator differences in standard deviations when dry flocked swabs were used decreased significantly compared to the differences when regular cotton swabs were used, whereas the mean of the standard deviations of all operators together was not significantly altered. In contrast, automated streaking significantly reduced both interoperator differences, i.e., the individual standard deviations, compared to the standard deviations for the manual method, and the mean of the standard deviations of all operators together, i.e., total methodological variation.
PMCID: PMC4652116  PMID: 26468500
5.  Long-term changes of bacterial and viral compositions in the intestine of a recovered Clostridium difficile patient after fecal microbiota transplantation 
Fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) is an effective treatment for recurrent Clostridium difficile infections (RCDIs). However, long-term effects on the patients’ gut microbiota and the role of viruses remain to be elucidated. Here, we characterized bacterial and viral microbiota in the feces of a cured RCDI patient at various time points until 4.5 yr post-FMT compared with the stool donor. Feces were subjected to DNA sequencing to characterize bacteria and double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) viruses including phages. The patient's microbial communities varied over time and showed little overall similarity to the donor until 7 mo post-FMT, indicating ongoing gut microbiota adaption in this time period. After 4.5 yr, the patient's bacteria attained donor-like compositions at phylum, class, and order levels with similar bacterial diversity. Differences in the bacterial communities between donor and patient after 4.5 yr were seen at lower taxonomic levels. C. difficile remained undetectable throughout the entire timespan. This demonstrated sustainable donor feces engraftment and verified long-term therapeutic success of FMT on the molecular level. Full engraftment apparently required longer than previously acknowledged, suggesting the implementation of year-long patient follow-up periods into clinical practice. The identified dsDNA viruses were mainly Caudovirales phages. Unexpectedly, sequences related to giant algae–infecting Chlorella viruses were also detected. Our findings indicate that intestinal viruses may be implicated in the establishment of gut microbiota. Therefore, virome analyses should be included in gut microbiota studies to determine the roles of phages and other viruses—such as Chlorella viruses—in human health and disease, particularly during RCDI.
PMCID: PMC4849847  PMID: 27148577
recurrent infection of the gastrointestinal tract
6.  The Resistant-Population Cutoff (RCOFF): a New Concept for Improved Characterization of Antimicrobial Susceptibility Patterns of Non-Wild-Type Bacterial Populations 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2015;53(6):1806-1811.
This study aimed to determine resistant-population cutoffs (RCOFFs) to allow for improved characterization of antimicrobial susceptibility patterns in bacterial populations. RCOFFs can complement epidemiological cutoff (ECOFF)-based settings of clinical breakpoints (CBPs) by systematically describing the correlation between non-wild-type and wild-type populations. We illustrate this concept by describing three paradigmatic examples of wild-type and non-wild-type Escherichia coli populations from our clinical strain database of disk diffusion diameters. The statistical determination of RCOFFs and ECOFFs and their standardized applications in antimicrobial susceptibility testing (AST) facilitates the assignment of isolates to wild-type or non-wild-type populations. This should improve the correlation of in vitro AST data and distinct antibiotic resistance mechanisms with clinical outcome facilitating the setting and validation of CBPs.
PMCID: PMC4432042  PMID: 25762769
7.  A Statistical Approach for Determination of Disk Diffusion-Based Cutoff Values for Systematic Characterization of Wild-Type and Non-Wild-Type Bacterial Populations in Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2015;53(6):1812-1822.
In this study, we introduce a new approach for determination of epidemiologic cutoffs (ECOFFs) and resistant-population cutoffs (RCOFFs) based on receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves. As an example, the method was applied for determination of ECOFFs for seven different beta-lactam antibiotics and wild-type populations of Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, and Enterobacter cloacae. In addition, RCOFFs were determined for bacterial populations with defined resistance mechanisms (“resistotypes”), i.e., extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL)-positive E. coli, ESBL-positive K. pneumoniae, and ESBL-positive E. cloacae; AmpC cephalosporinase-positive E. coli and AmpC-positive K. pneumoniae; and broad-spectrum beta-lactamase (BSBL)-positive E. coli. RCOFFs and ECOFFs are instrumental for a systematic characterization of associations between resistotypes and wild-type populations.
PMCID: PMC4432064  PMID: 25762772
8.  Evaluation of Carbapenemase Screening and Confirmation Tests with Enterobacteriaceae and Development of a Practical Diagnostic Algorithm 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2014;53(1):95-104.
Reliable identification of carbapenemase-producing members of the family Enterobacteriaceae is necessary to limit their spread. This study aimed to develop a diagnostic flow chart using phenotypic screening and confirmation tests that is suitable for implementation in different types of clinical laboratories. A total of 334 clinical Enterobacteriaceae isolates genetically characterized with respect to carbapenemase, extended-spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL), and AmpC genes were analyzed. A total of 142/334 isolates (42.2%) were suspected of carbapenemase production, i.e., intermediate or resistant to ertapenem (ETP) and/or meropenem (MEM) and/or imipenem (IPM) according to EUCAST clinical breakpoints (CBPs). A group of 193/334 isolates (57.8%) showing susceptibility to ETP, MEM, and IPM was considered the negative-control group in this study. CLSI and EUCAST carbapenem CBPs and the new EUCAST MEM screening cutoff were evaluated as screening parameters. ETP, MEM, and IPM with or without aminophenylboronic acid (APBA) or EDTA combined-disk tests (CDTs) and the Carba NP-II test were evaluated as confirmation assays. EUCAST temocillin cutoffs were evaluated for OXA-48 detection. The EUCAST MEM screening cutoff (<25 mm) showed a sensitivity of 100%. The ETP APBA CDT on Mueller-Hinton agar containing cloxacillin (MH-CLX) displayed 100% sensitivity and specificity for class A carbapenemase confirmation. ETP and MEM EDTA CDTs showed 100% sensitivity and specificity for class B carbapenemases. Temocillin zone diameters/MIC testing on MH-CLX was highly specific for OXA-48 producers. The overall sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value of the Carba NP-II test were 78.9, 100, 100, and 98.7%, respectively. Combining the EUCAST MEM carbapenemase screening cutoff (<25 mm), ETP (or MEM), APBA, and EDTA CDTs, and temocillin disk diffusion on MH-CLX promises excellent performance for carbapenemase detection.
PMCID: PMC4290934  PMID: 25355766
9.  Integrating Forecast Probabilities in Antibiograms: a Way To Guide Antimicrobial Prescriptions More Reliably? 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2014;52(10):3674-3684.
Antimicrobial susceptibility testing (AST) assigns pathogens to “susceptible” or “resistant” clinical categories based on clinical breakpoints (CBPs) derived from MICs or inhibition zone diameters and indicates the likelihood for therapeutic success. AST reports do not provide quantitative measures for the reliability of such categorization. Thus, it is currently impossible for clinicians to estimate the technical forecast uncertainty of an AST result regarding clinical categorization. AST error rates depend on the localization of pathogen populations in relation to CBPs. Bacterial species are, however, not homogeneous, and subpopulations behave differently with respect to AST results. We addressed how AST reporting errors differ between isolates with and without acquired drug resistance determinants. Using as an example the beta-lactams and their most important resistance mechanisms, we analyzed different pathogen populations for their individual reporting error probabilities. Categorization error rates were significantly higher for bacterial populations harboring resistance mechanisms than for the wild-type population. Reporting errors for amoxicillin-clavulanic acid and piperacillin-tazobactam in Escherichia coli infection cases were almost exclusively due to the presence of broad-spectrum- and extended-spectrum-beta-lactamase (ESBL)-producing microorganisms (79% and 20% of all errors, respectively). Clinicians should be aware of the significantly increased risk of erroneous AST reports for isolates producing beta-lactamases, particularly ESBL and AmpC. Including probability indicators for interpretation would improve AST reports.
PMCID: PMC4187754  PMID: 25100821
10.  Use of the Bruker MALDI Biotyper for Identification of Molds in the Clinical Mycology Laboratory 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2014;52(8):2797-2803.
Matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization–time of flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) is increasingly used for the identification of bacteria and fungi in the diagnostic laboratory. We evaluated the mold database of Bruker Daltonik (Bremen, Germany), the Filamentous Fungi Library 1.0. First, we studied 83 phenotypically and molecularly well-characterized, nondermatophyte, nondematiaceous molds from a clinical strain collection. Using the manufacturer-recommended interpretation criteria, genus and species identification rates were 78.3% and 54.2%, respectively. Reducing the species cutoff from 2.0 to 1.7 significantly increased species identification to 71.1% without increasing misidentifications. In a subsequent prospective study, 200 consecutive clinical mold isolates were identified by the MALDI Biotyper and our conventional identification algorithm. Discrepancies were resolved by ribosomal DNA (rDNA) internal transcribed spacer region sequence analysis. For the MALDI Biotyper, genus and species identification rates were 83.5% and 79.0%, respectively, when using a species cutoff of 1.7. Not identified were 16.5% of the isolates. Concordant genus and species assignments of MALDI-TOF MS and the conventional identification algorithm were observed for 98.2% and 64.2% of the isolates, respectively. Four erroneous species assignments were observed using the MALDI Biotyper. The MALDI Biotyper seems highly reliable for the identification of molds when using the Filamentous Fungi Library 1.0 and a species cutoff of 1.7. However, expansion of the database is required to reduce the number of nonidentified isolates.
PMCID: PMC4136132  PMID: 24850347
11.  Validation of Antibiotic Susceptibility Testing Guidelines in a Routine Clinical Microbiology Laboratory Exemplifies General Key Challenges in Setting Clinical Breakpoints 
This study critically evaluated the new European Committee for Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing (EUCAST) antibiotic susceptibility testing guidelines on the basis of a large set of disk diffusion diameters determined for clinical isolates. We report several paradigmatic problems that illustrate key issues in the selection of clinical susceptibility breakpoints, which are of general importance not only for EUCAST but for all guidelines systems, i.e., (i) the need for species-specific determinations of clinical breakpoints/epidemiological cutoffs (ECOFFs), (ii) problems arising from pooling data from various sources, and (iii) the importance of the antibiotic disk content for separating non-wild-type and wild-type populations.
PMCID: PMC4068562  PMID: 24777093
12.  Evaluation of the Bruker MALDI Biotyper for Identification of Gram-Positive Rods: Development of a Diagnostic Algorithm for the Clinical Laboratory 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2014;52(4):1089-1097.
Reported matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization–time of flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) identification rates of Gram-positive rods (GPR) are low compared to identification rates of Gram-positive cocci. In this study, three sample preparation methods were compared for MALDI-TOF MS identification of 190 well-characterized GPR strains: direct transfer, direct transfer-formic acid preparation, and ethanol-formic acid extraction. Using the interpretation criteria recommended by the manufacturer, identification rates were significantly higher for direct transfer-formic acid preparation and ethanol-formic acid extraction than for direct transfer. Reducing the species cutoff from 2.0 to 1.7 significantly increased species identification rates. In a subsequent prospective study, 215 clinical GPR isolates were analyzed by MALDI-TOF MS, and the results were compared to those for identification using conventional methods, with discrepancies being resolved by 16S rRNA and rpoB gene analysis. Using the direct transfer-formic acid preparation and a species cutoff of 1.7, congruencies on the genus and species levels of 87.4% and 79.1%, respectively, were achieved. In addition, the rate of nonidentified isolates dropped from 12.1% to 5.6% when using an extended database, i.e., the Bruker database amended by reference spectra of the 190 GPR of the retrospective study. Our data demonstrate three ways to improve GPR identification by the Bruker MALDI Biotyper, (i) optimize sample preparation using formic acid, (ii) reduce cutoff scores for species identification, and (iii) expand the database. Based on our results, we suggest an identification algorithm for the clinical laboratory combining MALDI-TOF MS with nucleic acid sequencing.
PMCID: PMC3993486  PMID: 24452159
13.  Influence of Clinical Breakpoint Changes from CLSI 2009 to EUCAST 2011 Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing Guidelines on Multidrug Resistance Rates of Gram-Negative Rods 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2013;51(7):2385-2387.
Multidrug resistance (MDR) rates of Gram-negative rods were analyzed comparing CLSI 2009 and EUCAST 2011 antibiotic susceptibility testing guidelines. After EUCAST 2011 was applied, the MDR rates increased for Klebsiella pneumoniae (2.2%), Enterobacter cloacae (1.1%), Pseudomonas aeruginosa (0.7%), and Escherichia coli (0.4%). A total of 24% of Enterobacteriaceae MDR isolates and 12% of P. aeruginosa MDR isolates were categorized as MDR due to breakpoint changes.
PMCID: PMC3697730  PMID: 23596246
14.  Identification of Gram-Positive Cocci by Use of Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption Ionization–Time of Flight Mass Spectrometry: Comparison of Different Preparation Methods and Implementation of a Practical Algorithm for Routine Diagnostics 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2013;51(6):1834-1840.
This study compared three sample preparation methods (direct transfer, the direct transfer-formic acid method with on-target formic acid treatment, and ethanol-formic acid extraction) for the identification of Gram-positive cocci with matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization–time of flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS). A total of 156 Gram-positive cocci representing the clinically most important genera, Aerococcus, Enterococcus, Staphylococcus, and Streptococcus, as well as more rare genera, such as Gemella and Granulicatella, were analyzed using a Bruker MALDI Biotyper. The rate of correct genus-level identifications was approximately 99% for all three sample preparation methods. The species identification rate was significantly higher for the direct transfer-formic acid method and ethanol-formic acid extraction (both 77.6%) than for direct transfer (64.1%). Using direct transfer-formic acid compared to direct transfer, the total time to result was increased by 22.6%, 16.4%, and 8.5% analyzing 12, 48, and 96 samples per run, respectively. In a subsequent prospective study, 1,619 clinical isolates of Gram-positive cocci were analyzed under routine conditions by MALDI-TOF MS, using the direct transfer-formic acid preparation, and by conventional biochemical methods. For 95.6% of the isolates, a congruence between conventional and MALDI-TOF MS identification was observed. Two major limitations were found using MALDI-TOF MS: the differentiation of members of the Streptococcus mitis group and the identification of Streptococcus dysgalactiae. The Bruker MALDI Biotyper system using the direct transfer-formic acid sample preparation method was shown to be a highly reliable tool for the identification of Gram-positive cocci. We here suggest a practical algorithm for the clinical laboratory combining MALDI-TOF MS with phenotypic and molecular methods.
PMCID: PMC3716085  PMID: 23554198
15.  Prosthetic Valve Endocarditis and Bloodstream Infection Due to Mycobacterium chimaera 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2013;51(6):1769-1773.
Prosthetic valve endocarditis (PVE) due to fast-growing nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) has been reported anecdotally. Reports of PVE with slowly growing NTM, however, are lacking. We present here one case of PVE and one case of bloodstream infection caused by Mycobacterium chimaera. Randomly amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD)-PCR indicated a relatedness of the two M. chimaera strains. Both patients had heart surgery 2 years apart from each other. A nosocomial link was not detected.
PMCID: PMC3716099  PMID: 23536407
16.  Change of Antibiotic Susceptibility Testing Guidelines from CLSI to EUCAST: Influence on Cumulative Hospital Antibiograms  
PLoS ONE  2013;8(11):e79130.
We studied whether the change in antibiotic susceptibility testing (AST) guidelines from CLSI to EUCAST influenced cumulative antibiograms in a tertiary care hospital in Switzerland.
Antibiotic susceptibilities of non-duplicate isolates collected within a one-year period before (period A) and after (period B) changing AST interpretation from CLSI 2009 to EUCAST 1.3 (2011) guidelines were analysed. In addition, period B isolates were reinterpreted according to the CLSI 2009, CLSI 2013 and EUCAST 3.1 (2013) guidelines.
The majority of species/drug combinations showed no differences in susceptibility rates comparing periods A and B. However, in some gram-negative bacilli, decreased susceptibility rates were observed when comparing CLSI 2009 with EUCAST 1.3 within period B: Escherichia coli / cefepime, 95.8% (CLSI 2009) vs. 93.1% (EUCAST 1.3), P=0.005; Enterobacter cloacae / cefepime, 97.0 (CLSI 2009) vs. 90.5% (EUCAST 1.3), P=0.012; Pseudomonas aeruginosa / meropenem, 88.1% (CLSI 2009) vs. 78.3% (EUCAST 1.3), P=0.002. These differences were still evident when comparing susceptibility rates according to the CLSI 2013 guideline with EUCAST 3.1 guideline. For P. aeruginosa and imipenem, a trend towards a lower antibiotic susceptibility rate in ICUs compared to general wards turned into a significant difference after the change to EUCAST: 87.9% vs. 79.8%, P=0.08 (CLSI 2009) and 86.3% vs. 76.8%, P=0.048 (EUCAST 1.3).
The change of AST guidelines from CLSI to EUCAST led to a clinically relevant decrease of susceptibility rates in cumulative antibiograms for defined species/drug combinations, particularly in those with considerable differences in clinical susceptibility breakpoints between the two guidelines.
PMCID: PMC3815097  PMID: 24223893
17.  Standardisation of disk diffusion results for antibiotic susceptibility testing using the sirscan automated zone reader 
BMC Microbiology  2013;13:225.
Standardisation of disk diffusion readings could improve reproducibility and accuracy of antibiotic susceptibility testing (AST). This study evaluated accuracy, reproducibility, and precision of automated inhibition zone reading using the “Sirscan automatic” zone reader (i2a, Perols Cedex, France).
In a first step we compared Sirscan results with manual calliper measurements for comparability and accuracy. Sirscan readings were checked and adjusted on-screen as recommended by the manufacturer. One hundred clinical bacterial isolates representing a broad spectrum of organisms routinely isolated in a clinical laboratory were tested, and zone diameter values and interpretation according to EUCAST guidelines were compared. In a second step we analysed, whether fully automated zone reading can decrease standard deviation of diameter measurements and, thus, improve reproducibility and precision of the disk diffusion method. Standard deviations of manual measurements, on-screen adjusted Sirscan measurements, and fully automated Sirscan readings were compared for 19 repeat independent measurements of inhibition zones of S. aureus ATCC 29213, E. coli ATCC 25922, and P. aeruginosa ATCC 27853 (EUCAST quality control strains).
On-screen adjusted Sirscan and calliper measurements displayed high comparability. No significant differences were detected comparing the results of both reading methods. Standard deviations of inhibition zone diameters were significantly lower for fully automated Sirscan measurements compared with both adjusted Sirscan readings and the manual method, resulting in better reproducibility and precision of the automated readings.
Our results indicate that fully automated zone reading can further improve standardisation of AST by decreasing standard deviation and, thus, improve precision of inhibition zone diameter results.
PMCID: PMC3852248  PMID: 24099061
Inhibition zone diameter; Kirby-Bauer; Automation
18.  Meningoencephalitis with Subdural Empyema Caused by Toxigenic Clostridium perfringens Type A 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2012;50(10):3409-3411.
We report a clinical case of meningoencephalitis with subdural empyema in an immunocompromised farmer caused by toxigenic Clostridium perfringens type A, which was identified by 16S RNA gene analysis of cerebrospinal fluid and subdural empyema. In immunocompromised patients, C. perfringens should be considered a potential pathogen of sepsis.
PMCID: PMC3457414  PMID: 22895036
19.  Practical Approach for Reliable Detection of AmpC Beta-Lactamase-Producing Enterobacteriaceae ▿  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2011;49(8):2798-2803.
In this prospective study all Enterobacteriaceae isolates (n = 2,129) recovered in the clinical microbiology laboratory during October 2009 to April 2010 were analyzed for AmpC production. Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI) cefoxitin and cefotetan susceptibility breakpoints and CLSI critical ESBL diameters were used to screen for potential AmpC producers. In total, 305 isolates (211 potential AmpC producers and 94 AmpC screen-negative isolates as a control group) were further analyzed by multiplex PCR for the detection of plasmid-encoded ampC beta-lactamase genes and by ampC promoter sequence analysis (considered as the gold standard). Cefoxitin and cefotetan were assessed as primary screening markers. The sensitivities of cefoxitin and cefotetan for the detection of AmpC production were 97.4 and 52.6%, respectively, and the specificities were 78.7 and 99.3%, respectively. As a phenotypic confirmation test, the Etest AmpC and the cefoxitin-cloxacillin double-disk synergy method (CC-DDS) were compared. The sensitivities for the Etest AmpC and the CC-DDS method were 77.4 and 97.2%, respectively, and the specificity was 100% for both methods. The results of the Etest AmpC were inconclusive for 10 isolates. With the CC-DDS method 2 inconclusive results were observed. Based on this study, we propose a comprehensive diagnostic flow chart for the detection of AmpC production consisting of a simple phenotypic screening and a single phenotypic confirmation test with inconclusive results being resolved by molecular analysis. For the proposed flow chart using (i) cefoxitin as a screening marker for AmpC production, (ii) the CC-DDS method as phenotypic confirmation, and (iii) molecular methods in case of inconclusive results, the sensitivity and specificity for AmpC detection would have been 97.4 and 100%, respectively, with respect to the studied isolates. The phenotypic methods used in the AmpC algorithm are simple to perform and easy to implement in the diagnostic laboratory.
PMCID: PMC3147735  PMID: 21632895
20.  Detection of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in Specimens from Various Body Sites: Performance Characteristics of the BD GeneOhm MRSA Assay, the Xpert MRSA Assay, and Broth-Enriched Culture in an Area with a Low Prevalence of MRSA Infections ▿  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2010;48(11):3882-3887.
Universal surveillance upon patient admission is important in reducing the transmission of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and associated disease in hospitals. High costs for the health care system in conjunction with MRSA have promoted the development of rapid screening methods to detect MRSA carriers. This study compared two real-time PCR methods, the BD GeneOhm MRSA assay (BDGO) and the Xpert MRSA assay, with broth-enriched culture to define their performance characteristics and rapidity in an area with low MRSA prevalence. In total, 414 swabs from the nose and 389 swabs from the groin from 425 patients were tested. Of those 425 patients, 378 had swabs from both the nose and groin in parallel. Two hundred thirty-one and 194 patients were randomly assigned to the BDGO group and the Xpert MRSA group, respectively. In general, sensitivity, specificity, and negative predictive value (NPV) were high for the BDGO (100%, 98.5%, and 100%, respectively) and the Xpert MRSA (100%, 98.2%, and 100%, respectively), irrespective of whether or not nasal and inguinal specimens were considered alone or combined. In contrast, the positive predictive value (PPV) was lower: before the resolution of discrepant results, the PPVs for nasal and inguinal specimens alone and combined were 87.5%, 86.7%, and 82.4% for the BDGO and 91.7%, 66.7%, and 92.9% for the Xpert MRSA, respectively. After the resolution of discrepant results, PPVs were 93.8%, 93.3% and 94.1% for the BDGO and 91.7%, 88.9% and 92.9% for the Xpert MRSA, respectively. With the BDGO, 4 of 16 carriers were each identified by nasal or inguinal swabs alone, whereas in the Xpert MRSA group, 4 of 13 carriers were exclusively identified by nasal swabs and 2 of 13 were identified by inguinal swabs alone. Both PCR methods showed no significant difference in the number of discrepant results (odds ratio, 0.70 [P = 0.789]), but specimens from wounds and other body sites (axilla, vagina, and throat) produced discrepancies more often than nasal and groin specimens (odds ratios, 4.724 [P = 0.058] and 12.163 [P < 0.001], respectively). The facts that no false-negative PCR results were detected and increased PPVs were found after the resolution of discrepant results point to PCR as the actual gold standard. Since both sensitivity and NPV were exceptionally high for PCR, backup cultures may, therefore, be unnecessary in an area with low prevalence and with a preemptive isolation strategy but may still be useful for PCR-positive specimens because of the lower PPV for both methods and the possibility of susceptibility testing. The median time for analysis, including extraction, hands-on time, and actual PCR was 2 h 20 min for the Xpert MRSA versus 5 h 40 min for the BDGO. Concerning reporting time, including administration and specimen collection, the Xpert MRSA was faster than the BDGO (7 h 50 min versus 17 h).
PMCID: PMC3020866  PMID: 20861339
21.  Rapid Detection of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in Diverse Clinical Specimens by the BD GeneOhm MRSA Assay and Comparison with Culture▿  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2010;48(3):981-984.
The efficacy of the BD GeneOhm methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) assay was assessed by analyzing nasal swabs and swabs from other body sites for the presence of MRSA in a low-prevalence area. From 681 patients with a high risk for MRSA carriage, 1,601 specimens were collected and transported in Amies agar. After discordant analysis, the sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value of the BD GeneOhm MRSA assay were 84.3%, 99.2%, 88.4%, and 98.9%, respectively, compared to culture.
PMCID: PMC2832448  PMID: 20071545
22.  Septicemia Caused by Tick-borne Bacterial Pathogen Candidatus Neoehrlichia mikurensis 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2010;16(7):1127-1129.
We have repeatedly detected Candidatus Neoehrlichia mikurensis, a bacterium first described in Rattus norvegicus rats and Ixodes ovatus ticks in Japan in 2004 in the blood of a 61-year-old man with signs of septicemia by 16S rRNA and groEL gene PCR. After 6 weeks of therapy with doxycycline and rifampin, the patient recovered.
PMCID: PMC3358111  PMID: 20587186
Candidatus Neoehrlichia mikurensis; septicemia; human infection; 16S rRNA gene PCR; therapy; tick-borne pathogen; bacteria; dispatch
23.  Urinary Tract Infection Caused by Eikenella corrodens▿ 
PMCID: PMC1828998  PMID: 17122012

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