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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Soft salt-mannitol agar-cloxacillin test: a highly specific bedside screening test for detection of colonization with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.

The early detection of colonization with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) of patients in intensive-care units is an essential step in the strategy for preventing MRSA epidemics. In this study, tubes containing soft salt-mannitol agar with cloxacillin (6 microg/ml) (SSMAC) were prepared for inoculation of clinical samples at patients' bedsides by personnel of an intensive-care unit. A total of 1,914 swabs from different sample sites of 81 patients were dipped into SSMAC tubes, and after 24 h of incubation (in an incubator located near the intensive-care unit), an evident color change was considered by the intensive-care-unit personnel to be an MRSA alarm. Sixty-three (3.3%) SSMAC tubes were considered positive for MRSA, 1,827 (95.4%) were considered negative, and 24 (1.2%) were considered intermediate. Compared with values for parallel conventional surveillance cultures for MRSA, excluding tubes with intermediate results, the SSMAC test had a sensitivity of 72.7%, a specificity of 99.2%, a positive predictive value of 76.2%, and a negative predictive value of 99.0%. When intermediate tubes were considered positive, the corresponding values were 75.3, 98.2, 63.2, and 99.0%, respectively. The sensitivity and specificity values of the test to identify MRSA-colonized patients were 89.4 and 100%, respectively. Oropharyngeal and naris specimens were the most reliable samples for MRSA detection. False-negative results were frequent in bronchial aspirates with low (< 10(3) to 10(6) CFU/ml) MRSA counts. False-positive results were mainly due to methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus haemolyticus. The SSMAC tube is a useful, rapid, and inexpensive tool for the early identification of MRSA-colonized patients and, consequently, for the implementation of measures to prevent the spread of MRSA.[1]


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