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      Evaluation of FISH for blood cultures under diagnostic real-life conditions

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          Background: The study assessed a spectrum of previously published in-house fluorescence in-situ hybridization (FISH) probes in a combined approach regarding their diagnostic performance with incubated blood culture materials.

          Methods: Within a two-year interval, positive blood culture materials were assessed with Gram and FISH staining. Previously described and new FISH probes were combined to panels for Gram-positive cocci in grape-like clusters and in chains, as well as for Gram-negative rod-shaped bacteria. Covered pathogens comprised Staphylococcus spp., such as S. aureus, Micrococcus spp., Enterococcus spp., including E. faecium, E. faecalis, and E. gallinarum, Streptococcus spp., like S. pyogenes, S. agalactiae, and S. pneumoniae, Enterobacteriaceae, such as Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae and Salmonella spp., Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Stenotrophomonas maltophilia, and Bacteroides spp.

          Results: A total of 955 blood culture materials were assessed with FISH. In 21 (2.2%) instances, FISH reaction led to non-interpretable results. With few exemptions, the tested FISH probes showed acceptable test characteristics even in the routine setting, with a sensitivity ranging from 28.6% ( Bacteroides spp.) to 100% (6 probes) and a specificity of >95% in all instances.

          Conclusion: If sophisticated rapid diagnostic methods like mass spectrometry from blood culture materials are not available, FISH provides an option for rapid differentiation for laboratories in resource-limited settings.

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          Most cited references 30

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          Variations of bacterial populations in human feces measured by fluorescent in situ hybridization with group-specific 16S rRNA-targeted oligonucleotide probes.

          Six 16S rRNA-targeted oligonucleotide probes were designed, validated, and used to quantify predominant groups of anaerobic bacteria in human fecal samples. A set of two probes was specific for species of the Bacteroides fragilis group and the species Bacteroides distasonis. Two others were designed to detect species of the Clostridium histolyticum and the Clostridium lituseburense groups. Another probe was designed for the genera Streptococcus and Lactococcus, and the final probe was designed for the species of the Clostridium coccoides-Eubacterium rectale group. The temperature of dissociation of each of the probes was determined. The specificities of the probes for a collection of target and reference organisms were tested by dot blot hybridization and fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH). The new probes were used in initial FISH experiments to enumerate human fecal bacteria. The combination of the two Bacteroides-specific probes detected a mean of 5.4 x 10(10) cells per g (dry weight) of feces; the Clostridium coccoides-Eubacterium rectale group-specific probe detected a mean of 7.2 x 10(10) cells per g (dry weight) of feces. The Clostridium histolyticum, Clostridium lituseburense, and Streptococcus-Lactococcus group-specific probes detected only numbers of cells ranging from 1 x 10(7) to 7 x 10(8) per g (dry weight) of feces. Three of the newly designed probes and three additional probes were used in further FISH experiments to study the fecal flora composition of nine volunteers over a period of 8 months. The combination of probes was able to detect at least two-thirds of the fecal flora. The normal biological variations within the fecal populations of the volunteers were determined and indicated that these variations should be considered when evaluating the effects of agents modulating the flora.
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            Impact of matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry on the clinical management of patients with Gram-negative bacteremia: a prospective observational study.

            Early identification of pathogens from blood cultures using matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization time-of-flight (MALDI-TOF) mass spectrometry may optimize the choice of empirical antibiotic therapy in the setting of bloodstream infections. We aimed to assess the impact of this new technology on the use of antibiotic treatment in patients with gram-negative bacteremia. We conducted a prospective observational study from January to December 2010 to evaluate the sequential and separate impacts of Gram stain reporting and MALDI-TOF bacterial identification performed on blood culture pellets in patients with gram-negative bacteremia. The primary outcome was the impact of MALDI-TOF on empirical antibiotic choice. Among 202 episodes of gram-negative bacteremia, Gram stain reporting had an impact in 42 cases (20.8%). MALDI-TOF identification led to a modification of empirical therapy in 71 of all 202 cases (35.1%), and in 16 of 27 cases (59.3%) of monomicrobial bacteremia caused by AmpC-producing Enterobacteriaceae. The most frequently observed impact was an early appropriate broadening of the antibiotic spectrum in 31 of 71 cases (43.7%). In total, 143 of 165 episodes (86.7%) of monomicrobial bacteremia were correctly identified at genus level by MALDI-TOF. In a low prevalence area for extended spectrum betalactamases (ESBL) and multiresistant gram-negative bacteria, MALDI-TOF performed on blood culture pellets had an impact on the clinical management of 35.1% of all gram-negative bacteremia cases, demonstrating a greater impact than Gram stain reporting. Thus, MALDI-TOF could become a vital second step beside Gram stain in guiding the empirical treatment of patients with bloodstream infection.
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              Specific and rapid detection by fluorescent in situ hybridization of bacteria in clinical samples obtained from cystic fibrosis patients.

              We report on the rapid and specific detection of bacteria commonly isolated from clinical specimens from cystic fibrosis (CF) patients by fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH). On the basis of comparative sequence analysis, we designed oligonucleotide probes complementary to species-specific 16S rRNA regions of these microorganisms and demonstrated the specificities of the probes by hybridization of different remotely related as well as closely related reference strains. Furthermore, in a pilot project we investigated 75 sputum samples and 10 throat swab specimens from CF patients by FISH and detected Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Burkholderia cepacia, Stenotrophomonas maltophilia, Haemophilus influenzae, and Staphylococcus aureus within these specimens. The specificity of FISH was 100% in comparison to the results of conventional microbial culture. In contrast, the sensitivity of standard laboratory cultivation was moderately higher, since the limit for microscopic detection of bacteria within sputum samples by FISH was approximately 4 x 10(5) CFU/ml of sputum (resulting in a 90% sensitivity for FISH). Moreover, we demonstrated that FISH will be useful for the rapid detection of bacteria that cause acute pulmonary exacerbations in CF patients, as demonstrated in patients with H. influenzae, S. aureus, and P. aeruginosa exacerbations. Therefore, FISH is a valuable additional method for the rapid and specific detection of bacteria in clinical samples from CF patients, in particular, patients with pulmonary exacerbations.

                Author and article information

                European Journal of Microbiology and Immunology
                Akadémiai Kiadó
                December 2018
                : 8
                : 4
                : 135-141
                [ 1 ] University Hospital of the Goethe University , Frankfurt/Main, Germany
                [ 2 ] Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute , Basel, Switzerland
                [ 3 ]Faculty of Medicine, University Basel , Basel, Switzerland
                [ 4 ] MVZ Humangenetik Ulm , Ulm, Germany
                [ 5 ]Department of Microbiology and Hospital Hygiene, Bundeswehr Hospital Hamburg , Hamburg, Germany
                [ 6 ]Institute for Medical Microbiology, Virology and Hygiene, University Hospital Rostock , Rostock, Germany
                Author notes

                Author for correspondence: Department of Microbiology and Hospital Hygiene, Bundeswehr Hospital Hamburg, Bernhard Nocht Str. 74, 20359 Hamburg, Germany; E-mail: Frickmann@ ; Phone: 0049-40- 6947-28700; Fax: 0049-40-6947-28709.

                © 2018 The Author(s)

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium for non-commercial purposes, provided the original author and source are credited, a link to the CC License is provided, and changes - if any - are indicated.

                Page count
                Pages: 7
                Original Research Paper


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