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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Case Studies in Clinical Microbiology. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) Disk Test

  • The disk diffusion test can also be used in the detection of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
  • Illustrated in the image is the surface of a Mueller-Hinton agar plate previously inoculated with a strain of S. aureus suspected of being methicillin-resistant. Although the zone of inhibition is at the borderline for resistance (18 mm); the presence of small colonies within the zone of inhibition (yellow arrows) indicates the presence of heteroresistant strains.
  • The interpretation here, therefore, is "methicillin-resistant" staphylococci, even though the zone diameter appears to be adequate. The detection of the heteroresistant strains indicates that minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) studies are required.