Iranian Journal of Microbiology 2016. 8(6):366-371.

Significance of coagulase negative Staphylococcus from blood cultures: persisting problems and partial progress in resource constrained settings
Shailpreet k Sidhu, Sita Malhotra, Pushpa Devi, Arpandeep Tuli


Background and Objectives: Coagulase negative Staphylococcus (CoNS) is frequently isolated from blood cultures but their significance is difficult to interpret. CoNS bacteria which are often previously dismissed as culture contaminants are attracting greater importance as true pathogens in the past decades. Clinical evaluation of these isolates suggests that although there is a relative increase of CoNS associated bloodstream infections in recent years, the microorganisms still remain the most common contaminants in blood cultures. The objective of this study was to determine the significance of CoNS isolated from blood cultures.

Materials and Methods: A retrospective study was conducted to evaluate the rate of contamination in blood cultures in a tertiary care hospital. The paired specimens of blood were cultured using conventional culture methods and the isolates of coagulase negative staphylococci were identified by standard methodology. Clinical data, laboratory indices, microbiological parameters and patient characteristics were analyzed.

Results: Of 3503 blood samples, CoNS were isolated from blood culture of 307 patients (8.76%). The isolates were reported as true pathogens of bloodstream infections in only 74 out of 307 cases (24.1%). In the vast majority, 212 of 307 (69.0%), they were mere blood culture contaminants and reported as insignificant/contaminant.

Conclusion: Determining whether a growth in the blood culture is a pathogen or a contaminant is a critical issue and multiple parameters have to be considered before arriving at a conclusion. Ideally, the molecular approach is for the most part a consistent method in determining the significant isolates of CoNS. However, in countries with inadequate resources, species identification and antibiogram tests are recommended when determining significance of these isolates.

Keywords: Coagulase negative Staphylococcus, Bloodstream infections, Contaminants


Coagulase negative staphylococcus; Blood stream infections; Contaminants

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