False identification of other microorganisms as Staphylococcus aureus in Southern Nigeria
Purpose: Staphylococcus aureus is the causative agent of many infections and the advent MRSA has drawn much attention to it. However, some organisms have been noted to be wrongly identified as S. aureus through phenotypic identifications leading to wrong treatment of infections. This study is therefore undertaken to evaluate the rate of false identification of other organisms as S. aureus in Southern Nigeria.
Methods: 507 microorganisms which have been previously identified as S. aureus in 8 States in Southern Nigeria through characteristic morphology on blood agar, Gram staining, growth and fermentation on Mannitol Salt Agar and coagulase formation were collected. All the isolates were identified in this study through sequencing of 16S rRNA and detection of spa gene. The percentages of true and false identities were determined.
Results: Of the 507 isolates previously identified as S. aureus, only 54 (11 %) were confirmed as S. aureus while the rest were coagulase negative Staphylococci (85 % misidentification rate), Bacillus sp. (12 % misidentification rate), and Brevibacterium sp. (3 % misidentification rate).
Conclusion: A high rate of false positive identification of S. aureus which could lead to the misuse of antibiotics in emergency situation has been identified in this study. The use of standard methods for the identification of S. aureus at all times is highly recommended.
Keywords: Coagulase staphylococci differentiation, misidentification of S. aureus, phenotypic identifications, Southern Nigeria