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J Clin Microbiol. 2009 Nov;47(11):3435-8. doi: 10.1128/JCM.01182-09. Epub 2009 Sep 9.

EuroCareCF quality assessment of diagnostic microbiology of cystic fibrosis isolates.

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Klinische Forschergruppe, Klinik für Pädiatrische Pneumologie und Neonatologie, OE 6710, Medizinische Hochschule Hannover, Carl-Neuberg-Str. 1, Hannover D-30625, Germany.


The identification of microbial species from respiratory specimens and their susceptibility to antimicrobial agents are among the most important diagnostic measures of care for patients with cystic fibrosis (CF). Under the umbrella of EuroCareCF, two quality assurance trials of CF microbiology were performed in 2007 and 2008. Nine formulations with CF bacterial isolates were dispatched. A total of 31/37 laboratories from 18/21 European countries participated in the 2007 and 2008 trials. The common CF pathogens Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus were correctly identified by almost all participants in both trials, even if the strains presented uncommon phenotypes. Burkholderia cenocepacia IIIB and Burkholderia vietnamensis CF isolates, however, were correctly assigned to the species level by only 26% and 27% of the laboratories, respectively. Emerging pathogens such as Achromobacter xylosoxidans, Inquilinus limosus, and Pandoraea pnomenusa were also not detected or were misclassified by many laboratories. One participant correctly identified all CF isolates in both trials. The percentages of correct classifications (susceptible, intermediate, resistant) by antimicrobial susceptibility testing ranged from 55 to 100% (median, 96%) per isolate and drug. The shortcomings in the diagnostics of rare and emerging pathogens point to the need for continuing education in CF microbiology and suggest the establishment of CF microbiology reference laboratories.

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