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PLOS ONE  2011 

The Role of Speciation in Positive Lowenstein-Jensen Culture Isolates from a High Tuberculosis Burden Country

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0027017

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Objective To determine the need for routine speciation of positive Lowenstein-Jensen mycobacterial cultures in HIV-infected patients suspected of having pulmonary tuberculosis at Mulago Hospital in Kampala, Uganda. Methods Sputum and bronchoalveolar lavage Lowenstein-Jensen mycobacterial culture isolates from consecutive, HIV-infected patients admitted to Mulago Hospital with 2 weeks or more of cough were subjected to IS6110 PCR and rpoB genetic analysis to determine the presence of Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTBC) and non-tuberculous mycobacteria (NTM). Results Eighty (100%) mycobacterial cultures from 65 patients were confirmed to be members of MTBC. Subsequent analysis of the cultures from 54 patients by PCR and sequence analyses to identify co-infection with NTM confirmed the presence of MTBC as well as the presence of Micrococcus luteus (n = 4), Janibacter spp. (n = 1) and six cultures had organisms that could not be identified. Conclusions Presumptive diagnosis of tuberculosis on the basis of a positive Lowenstein-Jensen culture is sufficient in HIV-infected Ugandans suspected of having tuberculosis. Routine molecular confirmation of positive Lowenstein-Jensen cultures is unnecessary in this low resource setting.


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