Screening for Acinetobacter baumannii colonization by use of sponges

Yohei Doi, Ezenwa O. Onuoha, Jennifer M. Adams-Haduch, Diana L. Pakstis, Traci L. McGaha, Carly A. Werner, Bridget N. Parker, Maria M. Brooks, Kathleen A. Shutt, Anthony W. Pasculle, Carlene A. Muto, Lee H. Harrison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


There is currently no consensus method for the active screening of Acinetobacter baumannii. The use of swabs to culture nostrils, pharynx, and skin surface of various anatomical sites is known to yield less-than-optimal sensitivity. In the present study, we sought to determine whether the use of sterile sponges to sample large areas of the skin would improve the sensitivity of the detection of A. baumannii colonization. Forty-six patients known to be colonized with A. baumannii, defined by a positive clinical culture for this organism as defined by resistance to more than two classes of antimicrobials, participated in the study. The screening sites included the forehead, nostrils, buccal mucosa, axilla, antecubital fossa, groin, and toe webs with separate rayon swabs and the forehead, upper arm, and thigh with separate sponges. Modified Leeds Acinetobacter medium (mLAM) agar plates that contained vancomycin and either aztreonam or ceftazidime were used as the selective medium. An enrichment culture grown overnight substantially increased the sensitivity for most sites. The sensitivity ranged between 69.6 and 82.6% for individual sponge sites and 21.7 to 52.2% for individual swab sites when mLAM plates with ceftazidime were inoculated after a 24-h enrichment period. The sponge and swab sites with the best sensitivity were the leg and the buccal mucosa, respectively (82.6% and 52.2%; P = 0.003). The combined sensitivity for the upper arm and leg with a sponge was 89.1%. The novel screening method using sterile sponges was easy to perform and achieved excellent sensitivity for the detection of A. baumannii colonization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)154-158
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of clinical microbiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 01-2011
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology (medical)


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