Introduction: The accuracy and practicality of PCR-restriction endonuclease analysis (PRA) for rapid identification of pathogenic rapidly growing mycobacteria (RGM) isolates were evaluated. Materials and Method: PRA identification using an amplified 439-bp segment (amplicon) of the 65-kDa heat shock protein gene was compared to identification by conventional methods, for 39 clinically significant RGM isolates. Results: The accuracy of PRA in the identification of RGM isolates was comparable to that of conventional methods. Moreover, PRA was able to identify RGM faster, within 2 to 3 working days compared to conventional methods which require 2 to 4 weeks to perform and complete different tests. Conclusion: PRA methodology could be easily incorporated into the clinical laboratory setting. This would be beneficial for the management of patients with infections due to pathogenic RGM
The pathogenic rapidly growing mycobacteria (RGM) capable of producing disease in humans consist primarily of the Mycobacteriumabscessus (M. abscessus), Mycobacterium chelonae (M. chelonae), Mycobacterium fortuitum species group (M. fortuitum group), and the M.smegmatis group. Clinical features of RGM infections include post-traumatic wound infections, disseminated cutaneous disease, bone and joint infections, catheter-related infections and chronic pulmonary disease.1 Conventional methods for identification of RGM isolates are laborious and time-consuming, and require 2 to 4 weeks for final results.2 In recent years, increasing numbers of clinically significant RGM have been isolated and diagnostic tests with faster turnaround time are required. Successful applications of PCR-restriction endonuclease analysis (PRA) for rapid identification of mycobacterial species have been reported3 and have gained wide acceptance.1,3-6 This study aims to apply PRA methodology for rapid identification of pathogenic RGM and to explore the feasibility of incorporating PRA test into routine laboratory service.
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