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Euro Surveill. 2010 Jan 28;15(4):19471.

Phage typing of Salmonella Typhimurium - is it still a useful tool for surveillance and outbreak investigation?

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  • 1National Food Institute, The Technical University of Denmark, Søborg, Denmark.


Phage typing has for decades been useful as a phenotypical, definitive method for epidemiological characterisation of Salmonella Typhimurium. The system recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborative Centre for phage typing of Salmonella has, however, become rather complex, and the present study illustrates the challenges of sufficient standardisation of the interpretation of lysis results to make sure that the same strain is assigned to the same phage type in different laboratories. Even though molecular typing methods will replace phenotypic characterisation methods in the future, it is our opinion that phage typing will remain for some time a useful tool to strengthen global Salmonella surveillance. Therefore, improved standardisation and quality assurance is essential to obtain a robust and harmonized method that allows comparison of results between laboratories.

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