Clinical Microbiology Issues Update - March 2012


  • ASM Attends CLSI Leadership Conference
  • ASM Cosponsors National Medical Laboratory Professionals Week
  • ASM Joins CDC and APHL in a One Day Forum on Campylobacter


  • ASM Teleconferences
  • ASM Conferences
  • ASM Journal Articles of Interest
  • ABMM Certification Deadline April 1


  • FDA Proposes Lower Risk Classification for Certain Tuberculosis Tests
  • FDA Approves the First Quadrivalent Vaccine to Prevent Seasonal Influenza
  • FDA Approves the First Helicobacter pylori Breath Test for Children
  • NIH-Supported Scientists Investigate a Newly Emerging Staph Strain
  • World TB Day 2012
  • Public Health Grand Rounds
  • Introduction to Public Health Surveillance Course
  • MMWR Articles of Interest


  • ASCP Annual Meeting Abstract Due Date
  • Hawaii to Become the First State with an Official State Microbe
  • 44th Oak Ridge Conference
  • Articles of Interest


ASM Attends CLSI Leadership Conference
ASM Staffer Kimberly Walker attended the CLSI 2012 Leadership Conference and Educational Symposium in Arlington, VA on March 20. Among the many sessions were those that focused on improving patient care through the implementation of new quality control (QC) tools and laboratory-developed tests (LDTs).  A full afternoon session was devoted to the Consensus Committee on Microbiology.   For more information on this meeting, please go to

ASM Cosponsors National Medical Laboratory Professionals Week
National Medical Laboratory Professionals Week (NMLPW) is an annual celebration of the more than 300,000 medical laboratory professionals whose vital role affects decision making in nearly every aspect of health care.  NMLPW, which began in 1975, takes place the last full week in April each year and is coordinated by a collaborative committee with representatives from 13 national clinical laboratory organizations, including ASM.  This year’s celebration will be observed 22-28 April.  To read more about NMLPW and for ideas, please see

ASM Joins CDC and APHL in a One Day Forum on Campylobacter
ASM, CDC and APHL are jointly sponsoring Forum on the Development of Best Practice Laboratory Guidelines for Campylobacter Diagnosis June 26 in Atlanta, GA.  This forum will bring together clinical, public health, and commercial laboratory professionals, clinicians, and epidemiologists to review available data on diagnostic tests for Campylobacter.  It will also facilitate the establishment of an action plan for development of the guideline. 


ASM Conferences

11th ASM Conference on Candida and Candidiasis

March 29 - April 2, 2012

San Francisco, California

3rd ASM Conference on Antimicrobial Resistance in Zoonotic Bacteria and Foodborne Pathogens in Animals, Humans and the Environment

June 26 – 29, 2012

Aix-en-Provence, France

For more information on these and other ASM conferences, please visit

ASM Journal Articles of Interest

Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria Proliferate in Agricultural Soils
Published in the March Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, a new study finds reservoirs of resistance in agricultural soils. These contained more diverse populations of drug resistant bacteria, with greater levels of resistance, than composted and forest soils. Vegetable garden soil alone harbored multi-drug resistant bacteria, and also had the highest level of resistance to three major antibiotic classes.

New Genomic Data Could Aid Rapid Detection of Pathogenic Enteroccus
Enterococci bacteria, and, in particular, vancomycin resistant enterococci, have emerged as a leading cause of multidrug-resistant hospital-acquired infection.  Researchers from Harvard Medical School and The Broad Institute report new genomic sequencing data that can help aid in the advance detection of pathogenic enterococci.  They report their findings in the current issue of mBio®.

Decontamination, DNA Extraction, and Amplification Procedures on the Molecular Diagnosis of Mycobacterium ulcerans Disease (Buruli Ulcer)
Authors compared two DNA extraction methods on 74 surgical tissue specimens from patients with clinically suspected Buruli ulcer to determine the best for the molecular diagnosis method for Mycobacterium ulcerans disease.

Evaluation of PNA FISH Probes for Identification of Candida Species from Blood Cultures
The Yeast Traffic Light system of identification distinguishes between pathogenic species of Candida using Fluorescence in situ hybridization using peptide nucleic acid probes (PNA FISH).  The study tested 216 positive blood cultures for the presence of C. albicans/Candida parapsilosis, C. glabrata/Candida krusei and Candida tropicalis.

PCR Identification of Bacteria in Blood Culture Does Not Fit the Daily Workflow of a Routine Microbiology Laboratory
Investigators evaluated the GenoType blood culture assay for the identification of bacteria in 233 positive blood cultures and assessed its suitability in the workflow of a routine microbiology laboratory

ABMM Certification
The American Board of Medical Microbiology (ABMM) certifies the expertise of doctoral-level microbiologists seeking to direct public health or clinical microbiology laboratories. It is recognized by federal and state governmental agencies as a significant component toward meeting licensure requirements to direct laboratories engaged in the microbiological diagnosis of human disease. It is recognized under the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988 final rule and in all 12 states that require licensure.

ABMM certification is achieved by passing an online multiple-choice exam that is offered daily in the month of June at testing centers worldwide. Visit to learn more and apply online. Deadline: April 1, 2012


FDA Proposes Lower Risk Classification for Certain Tuberculosis Tests
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a proposed rule that would encourage the development of a type of test used to detect cases of tuberculosis (TB). This rule would lower the current risk classification for nucleic acid-based tests allowing manufacturers to utilize the faster, more streamlined clearance pathway for medical devices.  To read more about this development, please click the link

FDA Approves the First Quadrivalent Vaccine to Prevent Seasonal Influenza
FluMist Quadrivalent, a vaccine to prevent seasonal influenza in people ages 2 years through 49 years, was approved February 29 by the FDA. This is the first influenza vaccine to contain four strains of the influenza virus: two influenza A strains and two influenza B strains.  For more information, see

FDA Approves the First Helicobacter pylori Breath Test for Children
The first breath test for use in children ages 3 to 17 years to detect Helicobacter pylori infections, which are responsible for chronic stomach inflammation (gastritis) and ulcers, was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Feb. 22, 2012. The FDA first cleared the BreathTek UBT H. pylori test for adults in 1996.  To see the report in its entirety, go to

NIH-Supported Scientists Investigate a Newly Emerging Staph Strain
Using genome sequencing and household surveillance, National Institutes of Health (NIH) scientists and their colleagues from Columbia University Medical Center and St. George’s University of London have pieced together how a newly emerging type of Staphylococcus aureus bacteria has adapted to transmit more easily among humans.  For more, go to

World TB Day 2012
March 24 marks the 13th observance of World TB Day. This global event raises awareness about the epidemic of tuberculosis (TB) and efforts to eliminate the disease.  The theme of World TB Day 2012 is “Stop TB In My Lifetime”.  For more information on World TB Day and how you can become involved, see

Public Health Grand Rounds
CDC Public Health Grand Rounds will present the topic “Lymphatic Filariasis Elimination” on April 17, from 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. E.D.T. You can view broadcasts at:  No registration is necessary.

Introduction to Public Health Surveillance Course
CDC and Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University will cosponsor the course, Introduction to Public Health Surveillance, May 7–11, at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. The course is designed for state and local public health professionals. For more information, click the link

MMWR Articles of Interest

Tuberculosis Outbreak Associated with a Homeless Shelter: Kane County, Illinois, 2007–2011
In January 2010, public health officials recognized an outbreak of TB after three overnight guests at a homeless shelter in Illinois received diagnoses of disease caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis isolates with matching genotype patterns. As of September 2011, a total of 28 outbreak-associated cases involving shelter guests, dating back to 2007, had been recognized, indicating ongoing M. tuberculosis transmission.  

Reducing Bloodstream Infections in an Outpatient Hemodialysis Center: New Jersey, 2008–2011
In 2009, to decrease BSI incidence in a New Jersey outpatient hemodialysis center, a package of interventions was instituted, beginning with participation in a national collaborative BSI prevention program and augmented by a social and behavioral change process to enlist staff members in infection prevention. 

Vital Signs: Preventing Clostridium difficile Infections
In this investigation, three data sources were used to identify health-care exposures for Clostridium difficile Infections (CDIs), determine the proportion of CDIs occurring outside hospital settings, and assess whether prevention programs can effectively reduce CDIs. CDC's Emerging Infections Program conducted active, population-based surveillance for CDIs from eight diverse geographic areas in 2010.

Outbreak of Shiga Toxin–Producing Escherichia coli O111 Infections Associated with a Correctional Facility Dairy: Colorado, 2010
On April 21 2010, stool specimens from the initial three inmates reported as ill tested positive for Shiga toxin at a reference clinical laboratory and subsequently were identified as STEC O111 at the state public health laboratory. CDPHE and correctional facility health staff members conducted surveillance for other persons with recent illness through cell checks and interviews with all food-service workers, resulting in identification of five additional laboratory-confirmed STEC O111 cases. A confirmed case was defined as STEC O111 isolated from an inmate's stool specimen.  

Outbreak of Cryptosporidiosis Associated with a Firefighting Response:  Indiana and Michigan, June 2011
On June 20, 2011, the Indiana Department of Homeland Security notified the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) of an Indiana fire station that reported gastrointestinal illness among a substantial percentage of their workers, causing missed workdays and one hospitalization as a result of cryptosporidiosis. 


Abstracts for the ASCP Annual Meeting Due April 30
The American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) is accepting abstracts for its November annual meeting in Boston until April 30.  For more information, please see

Hawaii Poised to Become the First State to Adopt a State Microbe
Nesiotobacter exalbescens, a thermophile from a remote Hawaiian lake, may soon be named the nation’s first official state microbe, possibly elevating awareness of clinical and microbiology laboratories.

44th Oak Ridge Conference: Emerging Technologies for 21st Century Clinical Diagnostics
The Oak Ridge Conference is the American Association for Clinical Chemistry’s annual forum for emerging clinical diagnostic technologies. The conference focuses exclusively on pre-commercial technologies, and there will be several microbiology sessions.

Articles of Interest

Bacteria from Mouth Can Lead to Heart Inflammation
Health Day News
March 26, 2012
A type of bacteria from the mouth, Streptococcus gordonii, can cause blood clots and lead to serious heart problems if it enters the bloodstream, a new study indicates.

Iowa Health Officials Prepare for the Possibility of a Measles Outbreak
The Daily Iowan
March 27, 2012
University of Iowa health officials say the number of international students and students traveling abroad leaves the university at risk for infection.

Heath Check: No Antibiotics for Sinus Infection
Minneapolis Star Tribune
March 21, 2012
Hoping for antibiotics for that sinus infection? You may be out of luck.

Pertussis Cases Confirmed in Washington State
The Yakima Herald
March 24, 2012
Health officials report seven confirmed and eleven suspected cases of pertussis in Kittitas County, WA.