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J Clin Microbiol. 1998 Jun;36(6):1568-73.

Flow cytometric testing of susceptibilities of Mycobacterium tuberculosis isolates to ethambutol, isoniazid, and rifampin in 24 hours.

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  • 1Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, University of Wisconsin, Madison 53706, USA.


Susceptibility testing of Mycobacterium tuberculosis is seriously limited by the time required to obtain results. We show that susceptibility testing of clinical isolates of M. tuberculosis can be accomplished rapidly with acceptable accuracy by using flow cytometry. The susceptibilities of 35 clinical isolates of M. tuberculosis to various concentrations of isoniazid, rifampin, and ethambutol were tested by the agar proportion method and by flow cytometry. Agreement between the results from the two methods was 95, 92, and 83% for isoniazid, ethambutol, and rifampin, respectively. Only 11 discrepancies were detected among 155 total tests. The results of flow cytometric susceptibility tests were available within 24 h of inoculation of drug-containing medium, while the proportion method required 3 weeks to complete. The flow cytometric method is also simple to perform.

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