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J Clin Microbiol. 2008 Sep;46(9):2992-8. doi: 10.1128/JCM.00027-08. Epub 2008 Jul 9.

Comparison of conventional, nested, and real-time PCR assays for rapid and accurate detection of Vibrio vulnificus.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Chosun University College of Medicine, Gwang-ju, Republic of Korea.


We conducted a prospective study to target toxR in the blood of patients with skin and soft tissue infections who were admitted to four tertiary hospitals to assess the clinical usefulness of real-time quantitative PCR (Q-PCR) as a diagnostic technique. We performed conventional PCR (C-PCR), nested PCR (N-PCR), and Q-PCR assays and compared the results to those obtained using the "gold standard" of microbiological culture. The lower detection limit for the Q-PCR assay was 5 x 10(0) copies/microl. By use of blood samples of patients with skin and soft tissue infections, the sensitivities of the C-PCR and N-PCR assays against the target toxR gene of V. vulnificus as diagnostic tools were determined to be 45% and 86%, respectively. The C-PCR and N-PCR assays had specificities of 100% and 73%, respectively. When we adopted a crossing-point (cp) cutoff value of <38 cp as a positive result, the Q-PCR assay had 100% sensitivity and specificity. Q-PCR to detect V. vulnificus-specific genes is not only the most sensitive and specific of the techniques but also the most rapid diagnostic method. Therefore, the appropriate application of the Q-PCR assay using blood is useful for the rapid diagnosis and subsequent treatment of V. vulnificus sepsis.

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