To detect and quantitate the causative pathogens in patients with corneal ulcer using real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) by cycling probe.
Clinical and laboratory study of 40 eyes of 40 patients diagnosed with corneal ulcer. Two methods were used for pathogen detection: bacterial culture and real-time PCR with the patient's corneal scrapings. Probes and primers of real-time PCR were designed to be pathogen specific for simultaneous detection of Staphylococcus aureus, Staphylococcus pneumoniae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, methicillin-resistant S aureus, Candida species, and Fusarium species. Results by both methods were evaluated and compared.
Of 40 eyes, 20 eyes had the same pathogens detected by both methods and those were S aureus (3 eyes; mean [SE], 3.8 [1.3] × 101 copies/sample), S pneumoniae (5 eyes; mean [SE], 5.6 [5.1] × 103 copies/sample), P aeruginosa (8 eyes; 5.1 [4.0] × 103 copies/sample), methicillin-resistant S aureus (1 eye; 1.0 × 102 copies/sample), and Candida species (3 eyes; mean [SE], 8.8 [4.9] × 103 copies/sample). Six eyes showed negative results by both methods. Results of both methods disagreed in 14 eyes; specifically, 11 had positive PCR results only, 2 had positive culture results only, and 1 eye had positive results for different pathogens.
The real-time PCR assay can simultaneously detect and quantitate bacterial and fungal pathogens in patients with corneal ulcer. Real-time PCR can be a fast diagnostic tool and may be useful as an adjunct to identify potential pathogens.