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J Clin Microbiol. May 1992; 30(5): 1250–1255.
PMCID: PMC265259

Large restriction fragment patterns of genomic Mycobacterium fortuitum DNA as strain-specific markers and their use in epidemiologic investigation of four nosocomial outbreaks.


Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis and restriction endonucleases with rare recognition sites were used to generate large restriction fragment (LRF) patterns of genomic DNA from 48 isolates of Mycobacterium fortuitum biovariant fortuitum. Epidemiologically unrelated isolates gave highly diverse patterns when AsnI, HpaI, AflII, DraI, NdeI, XbaI, SpeI, or SspI was used. Epidemiologically related isolates produced identical or minimally different LRF patterns. Minor variations in LRF patterns were seen in two epidemic isolates digested with XbaI, suggesting that genetic alteration had occurred. LRF patterns were used to study three cardiac surgery wound infection outbreaks and one respiratory disease nosocomial outbreak. In two outbreaks, LRF patterns confirmed the reported clustering of isolates on the basis of multiple phenotyping methods. In the remaining two outbreaks, isolates which could not be separated by prior typing methods were easily distinguished by LRF pattern analysis. Environmental water isolates from two outbreaks had LRF patterns identical to those of the disease-producing strains, confirming that the local environment was the source of infection. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis of LRFs of genomic DNA offers great promise as an epidemiologic tool for the study of M. fortuitum.

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