A real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) sampling method for monitoring reprocessing of colonoscopes was successfully applied in this multicenter Italian study.
PCR allowed identification of contaminated (59) and fully reprocessed (52) colonoscopes in 10 endoscopy units with high sensibility (98 %) and specificity (98%), within 3 to 4 hours. This is in contrast to the 24 to 72 hours needed for a classic microbiology test. The results were confirmed by next-generation sequencing and classic microbiology.
This approach deserves attention and further studies to confirm its reliability as a feasible support of traditional microbiology monitoring, the authors say.
A simplified sampling and DNA extraction protocol using nylon-tipped flocked swabs was optimized. A multiplex real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test was developed that targeted 6 bacteria genes that were amplified in 3 mixes. The method was validated by interlaboratory tests involving 5 reference laboratories. Colonoscopy devices (n = 111) were sampled in 10 Italian hospitals.