Adaptation of Brucella melitensis Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing to the ISO 20776 Standard and Validation of the Method
Brucellosis, mainly caused by Brucella (B.) melitensis, is associated with a risk of chronification and relapses. Antimicrobial susceptibility testing (AST) standards for B. melitensis are not available, and the agent is not yet listed in the EUCAST breakpoint tables. CLSI recommendations for B. melitensis exist, but they do not fulfill the requirements of the ISO 20776 standard regarding the culture medium and the incubation conditions. Under the third EU Health Programme, laboratories specializing in the diagnostics of highly pathogenic bacteria in their respective countries formed a working group within a Joint Action aiming to develop a suitable method for the AST of B. melitensis. Under the supervision of EUCAST representatives, this working group adapted the CLSI M45 document to the ISO 20776 standard after testing and validation. These adaptations included the comparison of various culture media, culture conditions and AST methods. A Standard Operation Procedure was derived and an interlaboratory validation was performed in order to evaluate the method. The results showed pros and cons for both of the two methods but also indicate that it is not necessary to abandon Mueller–Hinton without additives for the AST of B. melitensis.