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J Clin Microbiol. 2009 Aug;47(8):2452-7. doi: 10.1128/JCM.00476-09. Epub 2009 Jun 24.

Comparison of typing results obtained for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus isolates with the DiversiLab system and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis.

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  • 1Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, 30333, USA.


We compared the results of typing methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) isolates using the DiversiLab system (DL) to the results obtained using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). One hundred five MRSA isolates of PFGE types USA100 to USA1100 and the Brazilian clone, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Project ICARE strain collections, were typed using DL. In addition, four unique sets of MRSA isolates from purported MRSA outbreaks that had been previously typed by DL, each consisting of six isolates (where five isolates were classified as indistinguishable by DL and one was an unrelated DL type) were typed by PFGE. DL separated the 105 MRSA isolates of known USA types into 11 clusters and six unique banding patterns. DL grouped most of the USA100, USA200, and USA1100 isolates into unique clusters. Multilocus sequence type 8 isolates (i.e., USA300 and USA500) often clustered together at >95% similarity in DL dendrograms. Nevertheless, USA300 and USA500 DL patterns could be distinguished using the pattern overlay function of the DL software. Among the hospital outbreak clusters, PFGE and DL identified the same "unrelated" organism in three of four sets. However, PFGE showed more pattern diversity than did DL, suggesting that two of the sets were less likely to represent true outbreaks. In summary, DL is useful for screening MRSA isolates to rule out potential outbreaks of MRSA in hospitals, but PFGE provides better discrimination of potential outbreak strains and is more useful for confirming strain relatedness and specific USA types.

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