Performance of the EUCAST disk diffusion method, the CLSI agar screen method, and the Vitek 2 automated antimicrobial susceptibility testing system for detection of clinical isolates of Enterococci with low- and medium-level VanB-type vancomycin resistance
Different antimicrobial susceptibility testing methods to detect low-level vancomycin resistance in enterococci were evaluated in a Scandinavian multicenter study (n=28). A phenotypically and genotypically well-characterized diverse collection of Enterococcus faecalis (n=12) and Enterococcus faecium (n=18) strains with and without nonsusceptibility to vancomycin was examined blindly in Danish (n=5), Norwegian (n=13), and Swedish (n=10) laboratories using the EUCAST disk diffusion method (n=28) and the CLSI agar screen (n=18) or the Vitek 2 system (bioMérieux) (n=5). The EUCAST disk diffusion method (very major error [VME] rate, 7.0%; sensitivity, 0.93; major error [ME] rate, 2.4%; specificity, 0.98) and CLSI agar screen (VME rate, 6.6%; sensitivity, 0.93; ME rate, 5.6%; specificity, 0.94) performed significantly better (P=0.02) than the Vitek 2 system (VME rate, 13%; sensitivity, 0.87; ME rate, 0%; specificity, 1). The performance of the EUCAST disk diffusion method was challenged by differences in vancomycin inhibition zone sizes as well as the experience of the personnel in interpreting fuzzy zone edges as an indication of vancomycin resistance. Laboratories using Oxoid agar (P<0.0001) or Merck Mueller-Hinton (MH) agar (P=0.027) for the disk diffusion assay performed significantly better than did laboratories using BBL MH II medium. Laboratories using Difco brain heart infusion (BHI) agar for the CLSI agar screen performed significantly better (P=0.017) than did those using Oxoid BHI agar. In conclusion, both the EUCAST disk diffusion and CLSI agar screening methods performed acceptably (sensitivity, 0.93; specificity, 0.94 to 0.98) in the detection of VanB-type vancomycin-resistant enterococci with low-level resistance. Importantly, use of the CLSI agar screen requires careful monitoring of the vancomycin concentration in the plates. Moreover, disk diffusion methodology requires that personnel be trained in interpreting zone edges.
Journal of Clinical Microbiology, 2014, Vol 52, Issue 5, p. 1582-9