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J Clin Microbiol. 1993 Oct;31(10):2689-91.

Comparison of the Septi-Chek AFB and BACTEC systems and conventional culture for recovery of mycobacteria.

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Laboratory Service, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Portland, Oregon.


The performance of the Septi-Chek AFB system was compared with that of the BACTEC radiometric system and that of Lowenstein-Jensen agar slants (LJ) for detection of mycobacteria in clinical specimens. A total of 642 specimens were cultured; 61 (9.5%) yielded mycobacteria. Mycobacterium tuberculosis (34 isolates) and Mycobacterium avium complex (25 isolates) were the predominant species isolated. Of the 61 culture-positive specimens, 30 were smear positive and 31 were smear negative. Overall, 95% of the positive specimens were detected by Septi-Chek and BACTEC (100% of M. tuberculosis isolates) and 75% by LJ (82% of M. tuberculosis isolates). The mean times to detection were 15 days for BACTEC, 23 days for Septi-Chek, and 27 days for LJ. Of the 30 smear-positive specimens, 100% were recovered by Septi-Chek and BACTEC and 90% were recovered by LJ. Of the 31 smear-negative specimens, 90% were detected by Septi-Chek and BACTEC and 61% were detected by LJ. The Septi-Chek and BACTEC systems are superior to the conventional (LJ) mycobacterial culture method. Although Septi-Chek requires more time for the detection of mycobacteria than BACTEC, it is comparable in terms of overall recovery.

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