Purpose: Staphylococcus aureus
is the causative agent of many infections and the advent MRSA has
drawn much attention to it. However, some organisms have been noted to be wrongly identified as S.
through phenotypic identifications leading to wrong treatment of infections. This study is
therefore undertaken to evaluate the rate of false identification of other organisms as S. aureus
507 microorganisms which have been previously identified as S. aureus
in 8 States in
Southern Nigeria through characteristic morphology on blood agar, Gram staining, growth and
fermentation on Mannitol Salt Agar and coagulase formation were collected. All the isolates were
identified in this study through sequencing of 16S rRNA and detection of spa gene. The percentages of
true and false identities were determined.
Of the 507 isolates previously identified as S. aureus
, only 54 (11 %) were confirmed as S.
while the rest were coagulase negative Staphylococci (85 % misidentification rate),
(12 % misidentification rate), and Brevibacterium sp. (3 % misidentification rate).
A high rate of false positive identification of S. aureus
which could lead to the misuse of
antibiotics in emergency situation has been identified in this study. The use of standard methods for the
identification of S. aureus
at all times is highly recommended.