Multicenter external quality assessment program for PCR detection of Mycobacterium ulcerans in clinical and environmental specimens
Journal Contribution - Journal Article
BACKGROUND: Mycobacterium ulcerans is the causative agent of Buruli ulcer (BU), a necrotizing disease of the skin, soft tissue and bone. PCR is increasingly used in the diagnosis of BU and in research on the mode of transmission and environmental reservoir of M. ulcerans.
METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: The aim of this study was to evaluate the performance of laboratories in detecting M. ulcerans using molecular tests in clinical and environmental samples by implementing sequential multicenter external quality assessment (EQA) programs. The second round of the clinical EQA program revealed somewhat improved performance.
CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Ongoing EQA programs remain essential and continued participation in future EQA programs by laboratories involved in the molecular testing of clinical and environmental samples for M. ulcerans for diagnostic and research purposes is strongly encouraged. Broad participation in such EQA programs also benefits the harmonization of quality in the BU research community and enhances the credibility of advances made in solving the transmission enigma of M. ulcerans.