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J Clin Microbiol. 2000 Jun;38(6):2366-8.

Epidemiologic subtyping of Escherichia coli serogroup O157 strains isolated in Ontario by phage typing and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis.

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  • 1Central Public Health Laboratory, Ministry of Health, Toronto, Ontario M9P 3T1.


Phage typing and DNA macrorestriction fragment analysis by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) were evaluated for use in the epidemiological subtyping of Escherichia coli serogroup O157 strains isolated in Ontario, Canada. Among 30 strains isolated from patients with sporadic cases of infection, 22 distinct XbaI macrorestriction patterns were identified and 17 strains exhibited unique PFGE patterns. In contrast, phage typing identified only seven different phage types and 17 strains belonged to the same phage type. A total of 25 phage type-macrorestriction pattern combinations were identified among the strains from patients with sporadic cases of infection. PFGE subtyping differentiated between unrelated strains that exhibited the same phage type, and in one group of strains, phage typing differentiated between strains of the same PFGE subtype. Both typing procedures correctly identified outbreak-related isolates as belonging to the same type in four separate outbreaks. Each outbreak strain was characterized by a distinct macrorestriction pattern, while phage typing subdivided the outbreak strains into only three different types. A small percentage of outbreak-related isolates had PFGE patterns that differed slightly (one or two DNA fragment differences) from that of the outbreak strain. On the other hand, each isolate from the same outbreak belonged to the same phage type as that of the outbreak strain. We conclude that phage typing and PFGE fingerprinting represent complementary procedures for the subtyping of E. coli serogroup O157 and that the combined use of these procedures provides optimal discrimination.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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