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Foodborne Pathog Dis. 2012 May;9(5):418-24. doi: 10.1089/fpd.2011.1067. Epub 2012 Apr 16.

Standardization and international multicenter validation of a PulseNet pulsed-field gel electrophoresis protocol for subtyping Shigella flexneri isolates.

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  • 1Instituto Nacional de Enfermedades Infecciosas, ANLIS "Carlos G. Malbrán," Buenos Aires, Argentina.


Shigella flexneri is one of the agents most frequently linked to diarrheal illness in developing countries and often causes outbreaks in settings with poor hygiene or sanitary conditions. Travel is one of the means by which S. flexneri can be imported into developed countries, where this pathogen is not commonly seen. A robust and discriminatory subtyping method is needed for the surveillance of S. flexneri locally and regionally, and to aid in the detection and investigation of outbreaks. The PulseNet International network utilizes standardized pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) protocols to carry out laboratory-based surveillance of foodborne pathogens in combination with epidemiologic data. A multicenter validation was carried out in nine PulseNet laboratories located in North and South America, Europe, and Asia, and it demonstrated that a new protocol is highly robust and reproducible for subtyping of S. flexneri. This protocol, already approved for PulseNet laboratories, applies NotI and XbaI as primary and secondary restriction enzymes, respectively, under electrophoresis conditions of initial switch time of 5 s to final switch time of 35 s, at 6 volts/cm.

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