1 December 2011
Multi-drug-resistant strains of the Acinetobacter baumannii complex cause nosocomial infections. Rapid identification of Acinetobacter spp. is desirable in order to facilitate therapeutic or hygiene decisions. We evaluated a newly designed DNA probe that can be used under standard conditions in both a microwave oven and a slide chamber for the rapid identification of Acinetobacter spp. by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH). Using FISH, the new probe correctly identified 81/81 Acinetobacter spp. isolates and excluded 109/109 tested non-target organisms from agar culture. Furthermore, the new probe correctly identified 7/7 Acinetobacter spp. in 214 blood cultures determined to contain Gram-negative bacteria by Gram staining. Using either the microwave oven or slide chamber technique, the new probe was able to identify Acinetobacter spp. in 100% of the samples tested. FISH used in conjunction with our newly designed probe provides an easy, cheap, precise, and rapid method for the preliminary identification of Acinetobacter spp., especially in laboratories where more sophisticated methods like matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF-MS) are not available.