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Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2000 Mar;21(3):213-7.

Determining the significance of coagulase-negative staphylococci isolated from blood cultures at a community hospital: a role for species and strain identification.

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Hospital Infections Program, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia 30333, USA.



To determine the degree to which species identification or strain relatedness assessment of successive blood culture isolates of coagulase-negative staphylococci (CNS) may improve the clinical diagnosis of bloodstream infection (BSI).


400-bed community hospital.


Prospective laboratory survey during which all CNS blood culture isolates obtained between mid-August 1996 and mid-February 1997 (study period) were saved and later identified to the species level; selected isolates were genotyped using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Retrospective review of medical records of 37 patients with multiple cultures positive for CNS.


During the study period, 171 patients had blood cultures positive for CNS; 130 had single positive cultures and 41 had > or =2 positive cultures. Of these 41, 23 (62%) were from patients with signs and symptoms of BSI according to CDC surveillance definitions. Species identification and strain clonality of CNS isolates from patients with > or =2 positives revealed 3 (13%) of the 23 patients did not have a consistent CNS species, and another 3 (13%) did not have a consistent genotype in the > or =2 positive cultures, suggesting that CNS from these patients probably were contaminants. Thus, species identification and strain clonality assessment reduced by 27% the number of patients with BSI diagnosed based on the presence of symptoms and > or =2 positive blood cultures.


Routine species identification and selected strain genotyping of CNS may reduce the misinterpretation of probable contaminants among patients with > or =2 positive blood cultures.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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