Background: The Liverpool epidemic strain (LES) of Pseudomonas aeruginosa is widespread among patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) in specialist centers around Liverpool and elsewhere in the UK. This study evaluates a new diagnostic PCR assay based on a unique DNA sequence (PS21) of LES, for its identification of colonies directly from sputum.
Methods: One hundred and fifty-eight sputum samples from 92 patients were cultured and P. aeruginosa isolates were typed by PS21 PCR and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). Subsequently, PS21 PCR was performed directly on sputum and the results were compared with culture, PFGE, and PS21 PCR typing.
Results: Eighty patients were colonized with P. aeruginosa, 63 by LES (79%). There was 100% concordance between PS21 PCR on colonies and PFGE typing. The sensitivity and specificity of PS21 PCR directly on sputum was 98.2% and 93.6%, respectively.
Conclusions: This study shows that PS21 PCR can be used for simple and rapid screening of LES colonization in CF patients.
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We thank J.E. Corkill for assistance with pulsed-field gel electrophoresis typing. Dr Panagea acknowledges funding from the Association of Medical Microbiologists, UK. Drs Winstanley and Hart acknowledge funding from the United Kingdom Cystic Fibrosis Trust and the Welcome Trust. This work was also supported by an R&D Support fund from Royal Liverpool Broadgreen University Hospitals Trust.
The authors have no conflicts of interest directly relevant to the content of this study.
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