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External Quality Assurance scheme for Haemophilus influenzae 2011

11 Feb 2013

A collection of six strains of Haemophilus influenzae were sent to 30 participating reference laboratories in the IBD-Labnet surveillance network for quality assessment testing. The laboratories were asked to perform standard laboratory protocols for the methods usually used by the laboratory for: species identification, biotyping and serotyping by serological methods and Polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Antimicrobial susceptibility testing and ß-lactamase testing was also requested for those laboratories that perform antimicrobial susceptibility testing of the isolates on a routine basis.

The results show that the laboratories differ in the level of characterisation of strains, ranging from simple speciation to full identification and typing. All but two laboratories routinely phenotypically serotype isolates. Fifteen laboratories (52%) performed PCR-based capsular genotyping; 23 laboratories (79%) reported antimicrobial susceptibility testing results. A significant number of the laboratories are using the CLSI guidelines for antimicrobial susceptibility testing, rather than the EUCAST guidelines.

Haemophilus influenzae is a common virus causing respiratory tract infections. Despite the availability of an effective vaccine, the conjugated Hib vaccine, infections by non-vaccine strains of the virus can still occur. Surveillance of the disease is therefore important to monitor the effectiveness of the immunisation process. To support laboratory surveillance, ECDC promotes the performance of external quality assessment in which laboratories are sent simulated clinical specimens or bacterial isolates for testing by routine and reference laboratory methods.

Related links:

External quality assurance scheme for Haemophilus influenzae 2011 report

Haemophilus influenzae health topic page

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