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J Clin Microbiol. 2007 Sep;45(9):2894-901. Epub 2007 Jul 18.

Development of real-time PCR assays and evaluation of their potential use for rapid detection of Burkholderia pseudomallei in clinical blood specimens.

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  • 1Department of Clinical Immunology, Centre for Research and Development in Medical Diagnostic Laboratories, Faculty of Associated Medical Sciences, Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen 40002, Thailand.


The early initiation of appropriate antimicrobial therapy is critical for improving the prognosis of patients with septicemic melioidosis. Thus, the use of a rapid molecular diagnosis may affect the outcome of this disease, which has a high mortality rate. We report the development of two TaqMan real-time PCR assays (designated 8653 and 9438) that detect the presence of two novel genes unique to Burkolderia pseudomallei. The analytical sensitivity and specificity of the assays were assessed with 91 different B. pseudomallei isolates, along with 96 isolates and strains representing 28 other bacterial species, including the closely related Burkholderia/Ralstonia. The two assays performed equally well with both purified DNA and crude cell lysates, with 100% analytical specificity for the detection of B. pseudomallei. The limit of detection was 50 fg of DNA (equivalent to six bacterial genomes) per PCR for both assay 8563 and 9438. We also evaluated these assays with DNA extracted from blood specimens taken from 45 patients with culture-confirmed septicemic melioidosis or other septicemias. Of the 28 melioidosis blood specimens, assays 8653 and 9438 gave sensitivities of 71% (20/28) and 54% (15/28), respectively. Effectively, all fatal cases of septicemic melioidosis were detected by 8653. For the 17 non-melioidosis blood specimens, specificities of 82% (14/17) and 88% (15/17) were obtained for assays 8653 and 9438, respectively. The real-time PCR assays developed in this study provide alternative, rapid molecular tools for the specific detection of B. pseudomallei, and this may be of particular use in the early diagnosis and treatment of septicemic melioidosis.

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