Three-way comparison of BBL CHROMagar MRSA II, MRSASelect, and spectra MRSA for detection of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus isolates in nasal surveillance cultures

Gerald A. Denys, Pamela B. Renzi, Kim M. Koch, Carol M. Wissel

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17 Scopus citations


Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a major cause of hospital-acquired and life-threatening infections. Active surveillance programs for MRSA utilize either molecular or culture-based methods. A prospective study was performed to compare the performance of selective and differential chromogenic media, BBL CHROMagar MRSA II (CMRSA II; BD Diagnostics, Sparks, MD), MRSASelect (Bio-Rad Laboratories, Redmond, WA), and Spectra MRSA (Remel, Lenexa, KS), for the detection of MRSA in nasal swab specimens. A total of 515 compliant remnant nasal swab specimens were sequentially used to inoculate BBL Trypticase soy agar with 5% sheep blood (TSA II) and each chromogenic medium. After 24 h of incubation, colony color reactions and morphology on chromogenic media were compared to suspicious colonies on nonselective TSA II. MRSA on TSA II was confirmed by Gram staining, a coagulase test, and a cefoxitin disk test. The overall prevalence of MRSA and methicillin-susceptible S. aureus (MSSA) on TSA II was 12.4% (64/515) and 9.7% (50/515), respectively. When each chromogenic medium was compared to the standard culture method, the sensitivity and specificity, respectively, were as follows: CMRSA II, 87.7% and 98.6%; MRSASelect, 89.0% and 93.4%; and Spectra MRSA, 83.6% and 92.1%. The positive predictive values were highest for CMRSA II (91.4%), followed by MRSASelect (69.1%) and Spectra MRSA (63.5%). False-positive results on chromogenic media were mainly due to color interpretation. The negative predictive values for all three media were greater than 97%. In conclusion, CMRSA II gave the best overall results for detecting MRSA from nasal specimens.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)202-205
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of clinical microbiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)

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