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J Intern Med. 2001 Jan;249(1):1-26.

Molecular epidemiology of tuberculosis and other mycobacterial infections: main methodologies and achievements.

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Mycobacteria Reference Department, Diagnostic Laboratory for Infectious Diseases and Perinatal Screening, National Institute of Public Health and the Environment, Bilthoven, The Netherlands.


In the last decade, DNA fingerprint techniques have become available to study the interperson transmission of tuberculosis and other mycobacterial infections. These methods have facilitated epidemiological studies at a population level. In addition, the species identification of rarely encountered mycobacteria has improved significantly. This article describes the state of the art of the main molecular typing methods for Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex and non-M. tuberculosis complex (atypical) mycobacteria. Important new insights that have been gained through molecular techniques into epidemiological aspects and diagnosis of mycobacterial diseases are highlighted.

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