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Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis. 2002 May;21(5):373-8. Epub 2002 May 17.

Differential fluorescent staining method for detection of bacteria in blood cultures, cerebrospinal fluid and other clinical specimens.

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  • 1Clinical Pathology Spirito Santo Hospital, Via Fonte Romana 8, 65100 Pescara, Italy. paolo.fazii@tin.it

Abstract

The aim of this study was to evaluate a differential staining method to distinguish gram-positive from gram-negative bacteria in fluorescence. The method is based on two fluorochromes, one acting in the wavelength of red, i.e. the acridine orange, and another acting in the wavelength of green, i.e. the fluorescein. With this method, gram-positive bacteria appear yellow and gram-negative bacteria appear green. In view of the importance of a rapid aetiological diagnosis in cases of septicaemia, the differential staining method in fluorescence was compared with Gram stain for the detection of bacteria in blood. Of 5,820 blood cultures entered into the study and identified by the Bactec 9120 fluorescent series instrument (Becton Dickinson Europe, France), 774 were positive. Of the 774 positive cultures, 689 yielded only a single organism. The differential staining method in fluorescence detected 626 of the 689 cultures, while Gram stain detected 468. On the basis of these results, the sensitivity of the differential staining method in fluorescence was 90.9%, while that of Gram stain was 67.9%. The difference between the two methods was statistically significant ( P<0.001). The differential fluorescent staining method was more sensitive than Gram stain in the detection of bacteria in blood cultures during the incubation period. This technique provides a rapid, simple and highly sensitive staining method that can be used in conjunction with subculture methods. Whereas subculture requires an incubation period of 18-24 h, the fluorescent staining technique can detect bacteria on the same day that smears are prepared and examined. The differential fluorescent staining method was also evaluated for its ability to detect microorganisms in cerebrospinal fluid and other clinical specimens. The microorganisms were easily detected, even when bacterial counts in the specimens were low.

PMID:
12072922
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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