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Eur J Epidemiol. 1993 Jul;9(4):353-60.

Genomic DNA fingerprints and phenotypic characteristics of serotype B Haemophilus influenzae isolates from Italy.

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Istituto di Clinica delle Malattie Infettive, Università di Siena, Italy.


Three different restriction enzymes (PstI, EcoRI, SspI) were used to analyze the total genomic DNA fingerprints of 52 Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) isolates collected between 1982 and 1992 from patients and carriers in central-northern Italy. The same isolates were also characterized by biotyping and antimicrobial agent susceptibility typing. In addition, 13 Hib reference strains from Sweden and the Netherlands were subjected to DNA fingerprinting and compared to Italian isolates. Both genotypic and phenotypic analysis revealed low variability among the Italian study isolates. Most were biotype I and all study isolates but one were susceptible to ampicillin, chloramphenicol, rifampin, third-generation cephalosporins and cotrimoxazole. Among the 52 Italian isolates, 3 distinct DNA patterns were identified, and 88.5% of study strains belonged to the same DNA group. There was sharing of the predominant DNA profile among isolates cultured in different years from different geographical areas and different invasive, respiratory and surface infections. However, another DNA pattern was only found in carrier isolates and in one surface infection isolate. Comparison by DNA fingerprinting showed that the majority of Italian isolates were closely related to most of the analyzed Swedish and Dutch reference strains, previously shown by other techniques to be predominant in those areas. This finding provides additional support for the hypothesis that there may be a dominant European Hib clone. The results show that DNA fingerprinting is a reliable method for Hib characterization and may be a useful additional epidemiological tool for this microorganism.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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