Question about running MRSA on FacsAria

Holmes, Kevin (NIH/NIAID) [E] KHOLMES at
Mon Jan 7 15:09:33 EST 2008

Dear Yan,

Although Staph. aureus is not generally considered to be transmitted via
the aerosol route, it would be prudent to assume that it is for these
reasons: 1) there is some published data which suggests that aerosol
transmission was an important factor in a S. aureus outbreak when
associated with an upper respiratory infection (Annals of Int. Med,
1996, vol 124, 539-547) and 2) you are dealing with a known antibiotic
resistant strain, which raises the biosafety concerns.	You should
definitely consult and follow the procedures listed in the ISAC
biosafety guidelines for sorting unfixed cells available at  It is unclear from your
post whether you have the aerosol management system on your Aria; if
not, you should not be trying to even analyze these.  That being said,
you should realize that the sort chamber of the Aria is designed for
containment, not evacuation and therefore even with the AMS in
operation, the sort chamber is not efficiently evacuated (opening the
sort chamber after a clog, for example will release aerosols).	 It
would also be my recommendation that you wear an N-95 respirator or a
PAPR with HEPA filter, disposable lab coat and gloves.	Finally, if you
haven't already you need to consult the division of Health and Safety at
your Institution.


Kevin Holmes


Kevin L. Holmes, Ph.D.

Chief, Flow Cytometry Section

Research Technologies Branch

Bldg. 4, Room B1-38

Phone: 301-496-9071

FAX:  301-402-4532

Email: kholmes at





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From: Zhang, Yan [mailto:yan.zhang at] 
Sent: Thursday, January 03, 2008 3:54 AM
To: cyto-inbox
Subject: Question about running MRSA on FacsAria


Hi flowers, 

I have a client who wishes to do protein expression analysis by using
flowcytometry.	The samples are fresh cultured MRSA(Methicillin
Resistence Staphylococcus Aureus). There is not going to be any sorting,
only running the samples through. Since we only  have a FacsAria, my
questions are:

*	The sorting chamber will be closed during sample running, but is
it safe enough to run the samples without spreading aerosols with such
infectious bacterials into the air?  
*	There are over pressured air supply system in the lab, I guess
if I run the samples at our lab, I should put on more protective coat to
run the MRSAs, like the one at Dr. Roederer's lab. Any suggestions?



Yan Zhang 

Senior engineer 
Epi-Gen Inst. 
Akershus universityhospital 

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