The landscape of diagnostic mycobacteriology in Germany-challenges of decentralised care

F. P. Maurer*, E. Mintken, J. Rupp, I. Olaru, K. Kranzer

*Corresponding author for this work


OBJECTIVE : To perform a nationwide inventory of diagnostic mycobacteriology services in Germany. METHOD: A survey was conducted among participants of the national mycobacteriology external quality assurance scheme asking for smear microscopy techniques, molecular assays, culture systems and drug susceptibility testing (DST) capacities for Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTBC) and nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM), and numbers of processed/culture-positive samples, and DSTs performed in 2016. RESULT S : We found that 170/238 laboratories (71.4%) provided data. Numbers of samples processed for culture varied between 35 and 40 000 (median 1856, interquartile range [IQR] 761-3500). Specimen numbers culture-positive for MTBC or NTM ranged from 0 to 1895 (median 46, IQR 17-116), and from 0 to 833 (median 30, IQR 13-71), respectively. Numbers of performed first-line susceptibility tests varied between 3 and 1400 (median 36, IQR 28-78). Eight laboratories performed DST for NTM. Also, 26.9% of all laboratories did not offer rapid genotypic DST (gDST) from primary samples. CONCLUS ION: The landscape of diagnostic mycobacteriology in Germany is highly heterogenic with considerable variations in sample numbers and testing methodologies. Shortcomings exist with respect to fluorochrome staining of primary samples, rapid gDST of MTBC, and DST of NTM. National guidelines need to be adapted accordingly.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease
Issue number8
Pages (from-to)913-918
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 01.08.2019

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Infection and Inflammation Research (ZIEL)


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