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FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2008 Nov;288(2):196-201. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-6968.2008.01352.x. Epub 2008 Sep 22.

Epidemiological study of Vibrio cholerae using variable number of tandem repeats.

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National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases, Kolkata, West Bengal, India.


By conventional genetic methods, including pulse-field gel electrophoresis and multilocus sequence typing, most pathogenic, cholera toxin-positive O1 and O139 isolates of Vibrio cholerae cannot be distinguished. We evaluated relationships among 173 V. cholerae isolates collected between 1992 and 2007 from different geographic areas in India by analyzing five variable number of tandem repeat (VNTR) loci. Each VNTR locus was highly variable, with between 5 and 19 alleles. eburst analysis revealed four large groups of genetically related isolates. Two groups contained genotypes of isolates with the O139 serogroup (which emerged for the first time in epidemic form in 1992), with the other two groups containing O1 strains. In subsequent analysis, it was possible to track the spread of specific genotypes across time and space. Our data highlight the utility of the methodology as an epidemiologic tool for assessing spread of isolates in both epidemic and endemic settings.

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