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External quality assessment for molecular typing of Salmonella 2013-2015: performance of the European national public health reference laboratories


External quality assessment for molecular typing of Salmonella 2013-2015: performance of the European national public health reference laboratories



European Journal of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases: Official Publication of the European Society of Clinical Microbiology 36(10): 1923-1932



ISSN/ISBN: 1435-4373

PMID: 28573470

DOI: 10.1007/s10096-017-3015-7

We report the results of three consecutive External Quality Assessments (EQAs) for molecular subtyping of Salmonella to assess the performance of the European national public health reference laboratories (NPHRLs). The EQA included the molecular typing methods used for European enhanced surveillance of human Salmonella infections: pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE), including gel analysis by the use of the software BioNumerics, and 5-locus multiple locus variable number of tandem repeat analysis (MLVA) for serovar Typhimurium. The participation in the PFGE laboratory part was higher (27/35) than in the gel analysis (19/35) and MLVA (15/35), suggestive of the need for capacity building in methods requiring specialized equipment (MLVA) or software (gel analysis). The majority (25/27) of the participating NPHRLs produced inter-laboratory comparable PFGE gel(s). Two laboratories continued to produce low-quality gels and should have additional technical assistance in the future. In particular, two gel quality evaluation parameters, measuring "image acquisition and running conditions" and "bands", were identified to cause gel quality problems throughout the EQAs. Despite the high number of laboratories participating in the PFGE laboratory part, the participation in gel analysis was low, although increasing. In the MLVA part, the NPHRLs correctly assigned 96% (405/420) allelic profiles according to the nomenclature. In conclusion, the EQAs identified critical parameters for unsuccessful performance and helped to offer assistance to those laboratories that needed it most. The assessments supported the development of quality in molecular typing and promoted the harmonization of subtyping methods used for EU/EEA-wide surveillance of human Salmonella infections.

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Accession: 059724313

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