Validating a screening agar for linezolidresistant enterococci
Weber, Robert E.
Bender, Jennifer K.
Background: Linezolid is an alternative treatment option for infections with multidrug-resistant Gram-positive bacteria including vancomycin-resistant enterococci. Some countries report an increasing number of isolates with resistance to linezolid. The recent publication of the Commission for Hospital Hygiene in Germany on enterococci/VRE recommends screening for linezolid-resistant enterococci (LRE). However, a suitable selective medium or a genetic test is not available. Our aim was to establish a selective screening agar for LRE detection and validate its application with a comprehensive collection of clinical LRE and linezolid-susceptible enterococci. Methods: We decided to combine the selective power of an enterococcal screening agar with a supplementation of linezolid. Several rounds of analyses with reference, control and test strains and under varying linezolid concentrations of a wider and a smaller range were investigated and assessed. The collection of linezolid-resistant enterococcal control strains included isolates with different resistance mechanisms (23S rDNA mutations, cfr(B), optrA, poxtA). Finally, we validated our LRE screening agar with 400 samples sent to our National Reference Centre in 2019. Results: Several rounds of pre-tests and confirmatory analyses favored Enterococcosel® Agar supplemented with a concentration of 2 mg/L linezolid. A 48 h incubation period was essential for accurate identification of LRE strains. Performance of the LRE screening agar revealed a sensitivity of 96.6% and a specificity of 94.4%. Conclusions: Here we describe preparation of a suitable screening agar and a procedure to identify LRE isolates with high accuracy
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