Susceptibility Testing of Klebsiella Spp - An International Collaborative Study in Quality Assessment
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In order to compare the prevalence of antibiotic resistance in different geographical areas, it is necessary to ensure agreement between laboratories on the assignment of strains to 'susceptible' and 'resistant' categories. An international quality assessment was performed to investigate the performance of susceptibility testing of Klebsiella spp. Ninety-five strains of klebsiellae were selected from clinical isolates at the London Hospital Medical College (LHMC). These included strains with a diversity of susceptibility profiles to amoxycillin/clavulanate, piperacillin, ceftazidime, cefuroxime, ciprofloxacin, gentamicin and trimethoprim. The strains were sent to 13 participating laboratories in Europe and the USA and laboratories were asked to test the susceptibility of these strains to these antibiotics by their usual methods. They were also asked to provide details of the method used to test susceptibility. Several different standard recommended testing methods were used. Reporting of susceptibilities was generally accurate, but a number of anomalies were noted. Discrepancies of reporting between the LHMC and the participating laboratories was more marked for resistant strains, particularly in the detection of resistance to cefuroxime and ciprofloxacin, as well as the assignment of susceptibility and resistance to piperacillin and amoxycillin/clavulanate. Some discrepancies could be attributed to the use of different breakpoints, leading to differing assignment of susceptibility. Methodological variations including disc content, inoculum and failure to measure and interpret zone sizes consistently also led to anomalies. This quality assessment programme has helped to identify problems in susceptibility testing which should be investigated further.