Diagnosis of CRE: time to throw away those agar plates?

CRE are an emerging threat to healthcare systems worldwide. Most guidelines recommend screening and isolation of carriers. But relying on conventional agar-based culture presents a dual threat of poor sensitivity (depending on which method is used) and slow turnaround time, with a minimum overnight incubation before a presumptive positive result. PCR solves both of these problems – but at a cost. I gave a talk today at a BD seminar considering whether it’s time to switch to PCR diagnostics for the detection of CRE. You can download my slides here. (The title of the talk “Time to throw away those agar plates” was inspired by a talk by Dr Dan Diekema at a recent SHEA conference.)

There are a number of options for CRE screening, summarized in the flow chart below:

Flow chart: Overview of laboratory methods for the diagnosis of CRE. (To be precise, throughout the blog I really mean CPE most of the time, but I’m using CRE for consistency with other blogs…)CPE diagnosis

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