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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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Susceptibility Testing: Streptococcus pneumoniae

Oxacillin screening test to determine penicillin susceptibility in sites other than cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)
According to the current Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute(CLSI) guidelines, an isolate of S. pneumoniae is considered to be susceptible to penicillin if the zone of inhibition around the 1ug oxacillin disk is 20 mm. Thus, in this case, the isolate is oxacillin susceptible and penicillin can be administered. A follow-up minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) should be performed only if the zone of inhibition measures 19 mm, as the degree of resistance cannot be determined. The MIC susceptibility test results obtained for penicillin also are predictive for ampicillin, cefotaxime, imipenem, and other beta-lactam antibiotics, precluding the necessity for performing specific tests against these drugs.
S. pneumoniae isolates from CSF
The oxacillin screening test is NOT recommended for isolates of S. pneumoniae from CSF; the MIC test should be performed. In some laboratories, direct MIC testing is done for all clinically important S. pneumoniae isolates regardless of source, thereby providing a definitive result one day sooner.