The performance of the Bactec FX blood culture system for detecting Brucella bacteremia within the routine 1-week incubation period was assessed in a prospective study conducted in an area in southern Israel in which Brucella melitensis is endemic. Aerobic vials (BD Bactec Plus Aerobic/F medium) inoculated with blood specimens obtained from adult patients with positive Rose-Bengal screening test results were monitored for 4 consecutive weeks, and blind subcultures of negative vials were performed on solid media on days 7 and 28. During a 16-month period, a total of 31 (35.2%) of 88 cultures, obtained from 19 (38.0%) of 50 patients, were positive for Brucella melitensis. The blood culture instrument identified 30 (96.8%) of 31 positive vials within 7 days of incubation; the single positive vial that was missed by the automated readings was detected only by the blind subculture performed on day 28. It is concluded that the Bactec FX system is able to detect the vast majority of episodes of Brucella bacteremia within the 1-week incubation protocol instituted in most clinical microbiology laboratories and without the need to perform blind subcultures of negative vials, enabling early diagnosis and saving labor and incubation time and space.
- Blood cultures
- Brucella melitensis