Direct detection of vanA and vanB genes in clinical specimens for rapid identification of vancomycin resistant enterococci (VRE) using multiplex PCR
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Surveillance for vancomycin resistant enterococci (VRE) by culture can be labour intensive and time consuming. We have developed a multiplex polymerase chain reaction (MPCR) which can be performed directly on the clinical specimen. The assay allows sensitive detection of enterococci with vanA - and vanB -mediated resistance to vancomycin. DNA was purified from stool and rectal specimens using the XTRAX(TM)DNA Extraction Kit (Gull Labs). Multiplex PCR amplified vanA and vanB targets were detected using a microtiter plate EIA. Two-hundred specimens were tested by routine culture and MPCR. Culture identified 44 VRE isolates and MPCR detected 38 of the 44 culture positives. Multiplex PCR detected three additional positive VRE specimens missed by culture for a sensitivity and specificity of 86.4 and 98.1%, respectively. When the presence of PCR inhibitors was addressed in the six culture positive/MPCR negative specimens, four additional VRE positive specimens were detected. Performing MPCR on the original specimens and on a 1:10 dilution of all specimens to minimize the effect of inhibitors gave a sensitivity and specificity of 95.5 and 98.1%, respectively. Multiplex PCR with confirmation by microtiter plate hybridization could be completed in 8 h compared with 24-48 h required for culture.
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