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Rapid immunodiagnosis of streptococci and enterococci in blood cultures

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We evaluated a procedure for rapid identification of blood culture isolates of pneumococci, enterococci and beta-haemolytic streptococci groups A, B, C, and G. Immunological tests were applied directly to blood culture medium and included a quellung reaction for pneumococci, and latex agglutination tests (LAT) for pneumococcal antigen and Lancefield antigens A, B, C, D and G. During a one-year trial period with approximately 12,000 blood culture sets (BacT/Alert®, Organon-Teknika), 208 sets showed pure growth of Gram-positive cocci in pairs or chains by direct microscopy. Overall, a correct diagnosis was noted for 103 (63.2%, 95% CI: 55.3–70.6%) of 163 sets yielding pneumococci, beta-haemolytic streptococci, or enterococci. A procedure excluding Lancefield antigens only A, B, and D was implemented during a one-year follow-up period. With this simplified procedure positive and negative predictive values, respectively, were 1.00 and 0.87 for pneumococci, 1.00 and 0.94 for beta-haemolytic streptococci group A, 0.60 and 1.00 for beta-haemolytic streptococci group B, and 0.91 and 0.88 for enterococci. We conclude that rapid identification of Gram-positive cocci is feasible and may improve the information given to clinicians at the first notification of positive blood cultures.

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Keywords: Diagnosis; Latex agglutination test; Streptococcus pneumoniae; bacteraemia; beta-haemolytic streptococci; enteroccocci

Document Type: Original Article

Affiliations: Department of Clinical Microbiology, Aalborg Hospital, Aalborg, Denmark

Publication date: 01 April 2001

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