Clinical evaluation of the Copan ESwab for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus detection and culture of wounds

  • V. Saegeman
  • J. Flamaing
  • J. Muller
  • W. E. Peetermans
  • J. Stuyck
  • J. Verhaegen


The screening for and diagnosis of bacteriological infections often involves the collection and transportation of swab samples. The Copan ESwab was compared with the dry cotton Copan swab for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) screening (n = 200 paired samples) and with the Amies agar gel swab (Copan) for the sampling of burn and orthopaedic wounds (n = 203 paired samples) in terms of Gram staining and bacterial recovery. Gram stains performed with ESwab liquid showed significantly more Gram-negative rods, streptococci, Gram-positive cocci, Gram-positive rods, polymorphonuclear cells, lymphocytes and red blood cells than Gram stains from dry swabs. Bacterial recovery was significantly higher with ESwab (p < 0.01, for both MRSA screening and wounds, quantitative/semi-quantitative method). This lead to a slightly higher detection rate of MRSA (128 vs. 124 MRSA-positive ESwabs and dry swabs, respectively, p = 0.50) and a higher detection rate of coagulase-negative Staphylococcus spp. (44 isolates with ESwab vs. 29 with Amies gel swab, p = 0.001) and Enterococcus spp. (15 isolates with ESwab vs. 7 isolates with Amies gel swab, p = 0.005) with ESwab (quantitative method). We confirmed that ESwab has a high performance for Gram stains and a higher bacterial recovery than dry and Amies gel swabs when using clinical samples for MRSA screening and wound sampling.


Mannitol Salt Agar Bacterial Recovery Bacterial Morphotypes Maldi BioTyper Rayon Swab 
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We sincerely thank Rudi Deleus (Intensive Care Unit Burn Wounds), Godelieve Nicaise, Raf Beneens and Bart Vander Elst (Geriatric Medicine), Marleen Van Eygen (General Internal Medicine) and Jan Bosque (Septic Orthopaedics) for their readiness to procure all of the clinical samples, and Jos Vandeven (Laboratory Medicine) for the help in the identification of the micro-organisms.

Both the ESwab MRSA Collection Kits and the conventional ESwabs were kindly provided by Copan.

Supplementary material

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Fig. 4 (DOC 55 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • V. Saegeman
    • 1
  • J. Flamaing
    • 2
  • J. Muller
    • 3
  • W. E. Peetermans
    • 4
  • J. Stuyck
    • 5
  • J. Verhaegen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Medical Diagnostic SciencesUniversity Hospitals LeuvenLeuvenBelgium
  2. 2.Department of Geriatric MedicineUniversity Hospitals LeuvenLeuvenBelgium
  3. 3.Department of Intensive Care MedicineUniversity Hospitals LeuvenLeuvenBelgium
  4. 4.Department of Internal MedicineUniversity Hospitals LeuvenLeuvenBelgium
  5. 5.Department of Septic OrthopaedicsUniversity Hospitals LeuvenLeuvenBelgium

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