Flocked nylon swabs versus RODAC plates for detection of multidrug-resistant organisms on environmental surfaces in intensive care units

J Hosp Infect. 2018 Jan;98(1):105-108. doi: 10.1016/j.jhin.2017.09.028. Epub 2017 Oct 4.


To compare two culture methods [nylon fiber flocked swabs with broth enrichment versus RODAC ('replicate organism detection and counting') plates] for recovery of multidrug-resistant organisms, 780 environmental surfaces in 63 rooms of patients on contact precautions in four intensive care units at one hospital were examined. Among sites that had at least one positive culture, swab culture with broth enrichment detected the target organisms more frequently than RODAC plates (37.5% vs 26.0%, P = 0.06). There was moderate agreement between the two methods (κ = 0.44) with agreement better for small or flat surfaces compared to large or irregular surfaces.

Keywords: Culture methods; Environmental surfaces; Intensive care unit; Multidrug-resistant organisms; Nylon fibre flocked swabs; RODAC plates.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / drug effects
  • Bacteria / isolation & purification*
  • Bacteriological Techniques / methods*
  • Culture Media / chemistry
  • Drug Resistance, Multiple, Bacterial*
  • Environmental Microbiology*
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Specimen Handling / methods*


  • Culture Media