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J Clin Microbiol. 2006 Jul;44(7):2533-40.

Assignment of Staphylococcus isolates to groups by spa typing, SmaI macrorestriction analysis, and multilocus sequence typing.

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Wernigerode Branch, Robert Koch Institute, Burgstr. 37, D-38855 Wernigerode, and Department of Periodontology, University Hospital M√ľnster, Germany.


The implementation of the new clustering algorithm Based Upon Repeat Pattern (BURP) into the Ridom StaphType software tool enables clustering based on spa typing data for Staphylococcus aureus. We compared clustering results obtained by spa typing/BURP to those obtained by currently well-established methods, i.e., SmaI macrorestriction analysis and multilocus sequence typing/eBURST. A total of 99 clinical S. aureus strains, including MRSA and representing major clonal lineages associated with important kinds of infections which have been prevalent in Germany and Central Europe during the last 10 years, were used for comparison. SmaI macrorestriction analysis revealed the highest discriminatory power, and clustering results for all three methods resulted in concordance values ranging from 96.8% between the two sequence-based methods to 93.4% between spa typing/BURP and SmaI macrorestriction/cluster analysis. The results of this study indicate that spa typing, together with BURP clustering, is a useful tool in S. aureus epidemiology, especially because of ease of use and the advantages of unambiguous sequence analysis as well as reproducibility and exchange of typing data.

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