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J Clin Microbiol. 2011 Jan;49(1):138-43. doi: 10.1128/JCM.01238-10. Epub 2010 Nov 3.

The International Circumpolar Surveillance interlaboratory quality control program for Streptococcus pneumoniae, 1999 to 2008.

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  • 1Arctic Investigations Program, Division of Preparedness and Emerging Infections, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4055 Tudor Centre Drive, Anchorage, AK 99508, USA.


The International Circumpolar Surveillance (ICS) Program was initiated in 1999 to conduct population-based surveillance for invasive pneumococcal disease in select regions of the Arctic. An interlaboratory quality control (QC) program for pneumococcal serotyping and antibiotic susceptibility testing was incorporated into ICS by reference laboratories in northern Canada (Laboratoire de Santé Publique du Québec [LSPQ] in Sainte-Anne de Bellevue, Québec; National Centre for Streptococcus [NCS] in Edmonton, Alberta) and Alaska (Arctic Investigations Program [AIP]). The World Health Organization's Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Pneumococci at the Statens Serum Institute (SSI) in Copenhagen, Denmark, joined the QC program in 2004. The Iceland Reference Laboratory (IRL) in Reykjavik, Iceland, joined the QC program in 2006, but due to small sample sizes, data from IRL are not included in this report. From 1999 through 2008, 190 isolates were distributed among four laboratories (AIP, NCS, LSPQ, and SSI). The overall serotype concordance was 95.8%, and the overall serogroup concordance was 97.4%. The overall modal MIC concordance for testing by broth microdilution (BMD) and agar dilution was >96% for all the antibiotics except erythromycin (92.1%) and clindamycin (89.5%). MIC comparisons between the Etest and BMD resulted in lower concordance for erythromycin (73.9%), clindamycin (65.5%), and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (80%); however, categorical concordance (susceptible, resistant) remained high at 98.6%, 89.1%, and 90.9%, respectively. Our data demonstrate a high degree of correlation of serotyping and antimicrobial susceptibility testing results between four participating laboratories.

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