• Best Practices of Blood Cultures in Low- and Middle-Income Countries

      Ombelet, S; Barbe, B; Affolabi, D; Ronat, JB; Lompo, P; Lunguya, O; Jacobs, J; Hardy, L (Frontiers Media, 2019-06-18)
      Bloodstream infections (BSI) have a substantial impact on morbidity and mortality worldwide. Despite scarcity of data from many low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), there is increasing awareness of the importance of BSI in these countries. For example, it is estimated that the global mortality of non-typhoidal Salmonella bloodstream infection in children under 5 already exceeds that of malaria. Reliable and accurate diagnosis of these infections is therefore of utmost importance. Blood cultures are the reference method for diagnosis of BSI. LMICs face many challenges when implementing blood cultures, due to financial, logistical, and infrastructure-related constraints. This review aims to provide an overview of the state-of-the-art of sampling and processing of blood cultures, with emphasis on its use in LMICs. Laboratory processing of blood cultures is relatively straightforward and can be done without the need for expensive and complicated equipment. Automates for incubation and growth monitoring have become the standard in high-income countries (HICs), but they are still too expensive and not sufficiently robust for imminent implementation in most LMICs. Therefore, this review focuses on “manual” methods of blood culture, not involving automated equipment. In manual blood cultures, a bottle consisting of a broth medium supporting bacterial growth is incubated in a normal incubator and inspected daily for signs of growth. The collection of blood for blood culture is a crucial step in the process, as the sensitivity of blood cultures depends on the volume sampled; furthermore, contamination of the blood culture (accidental inoculation of environmental and skin bacteria) can be avoided by appropriate antisepsis. In this review, we give recommendations regarding appropriate blood culture sampling and processing in LMICs. We present feasible methods to detect and speed up growth and discuss some challenges in implementing blood cultures in LMICs, such as the biosafety aspects, supply chain and waste management.
    • Clinical bacteriology in low-resource settings: today's solutions

      Ombelet, S; Ronat, JB; Walsh, T; Yansouni, CP; Cox, J; Vlieghe, E; Martiny, D; Semret, M; Vandenberg, O; Jacobs, J (Elsevier, 2018-03-05)
      Low-resource settings are disproportionately burdened by infectious diseases and antimicrobial resistance. Good quality clinical bacteriology through a well functioning reference laboratory network is necessary for effective resistance control, but low-resource settings face infrastructural, technical, and behavioural challenges in the implementation of clinical bacteriology. In this Personal View, we explore what constitutes successful implementation of clinical bacteriology in low-resource settings and describe a framework for implementation that is suitable for general referral hospitals in low-income and middle-income countries with a moderate infrastructure. Most microbiological techniques and equipment are not developed for the specific needs of such settings. Pending the arrival of a new generation diagnostics for these settings, we suggest focus on improving, adapting, and implementing conventional, culture-based techniques. Priorities in low-resource settings include harmonised, quality assured, and tropicalised equipment, consumables, and techniques, and rationalised bacterial identification and testing for antimicrobial resistance. Diagnostics should be integrated into clinical care and patient management; clinically relevant specimens must be appropriately selected and prioritised. Open-access training materials and information management tools should be developed. Also important is the need for onsite validation and field adoption of diagnostics in low-resource settings, with considerable shortening of the time between development and implementation of diagnostics. We argue that the implementation of clinical bacteriology in low-resource settings improves patient management, provides valuable surveillance for local antibiotic treatment guidelines and national policies, and supports containment of antimicrobial resistance and the prevention and control of hospital-acquired infections.
    • Clinical Research in Neglected Tropical Diseases: The Challenge of Implementing Good Clinical (Laboratory) Practices

      Ravinetto, R; Alirol, E; Mahendradhata, Y; Rijal, S; Lutumba, P; Sacko, M; El-Safi, S; Lim, K; van Loen, H; Jacobs, J; et al. (Public Library of Science, 2016-11-03)
    • Evaluation of MicroScan Bacterial Identification Panels for Low-Resource Settings.

      Ombelet, S; Natale, A; Ronat, JB; Vandenberg, O; Hardy, L; Jacobs, J (MDPI, 2021-02-19)
      Bacterial identification is challenging in low-resource settings (LRS). We evaluated the MicroScan identification panels (Beckman Coulter, Brea, CA, USA) as part of Médecins Sans Frontières' Mini-lab Project. The MicroScan Dried Overnight Positive ID Type 3 (PID3) panels for Gram-positive organisms and Dried Overnight Negative ID Type 2 (NID2) panels for Gram-negative organisms were assessed with 367 clinical isolates from LRS. Robustness was studied by inoculating Gram-negative species on the Gram-positive panel and vice versa. The ease of use of the panels and readability of the instructions for use (IFU) were evaluated. Of species represented in the MicroScan database, 94.6% (185/195) of Gram-negative and 85.9% (110/128) of Gram-positive isolates were correctly identified up to species level. Of species not represented in the database (e.g., Streptococcus suis and Bacillus spp.), 53.1% out of 49 isolates were incorrectly identified as non-related bacterial species. Testing of Gram-positive isolates on Gram-negative panels and vice versa (n = 144) resulted in incorrect identifications for 38.2% of tested isolates. The readability level of the IFU was considered too high for LRS. Inoculation of the panels was favorably evaluated, whereas the visual reading of the panels was considered error-prone. In conclusion, the accuracy of the MicroScan identification panels was excellent for Gram-negative species and good for Gram-positive species. Improvements in stability, robustness, and ease of use have been identified to assure adaptation to LRS constraints.
    • The Mini-Lab: accessible clinical bacteriology for low-resource settings

      Natale, A; Ronat, JB; Mazoyer, A; Rochard, A; Boillot, B; Hubert, J; Baillet, B; Ducasse, M; Mantelet, F; Oueslati, S; et al. (Elsevier, 2020-06-01)