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J Hosp Infect. 1996 Apr;32(4):305-17.

Comparison of DNA fingerprinting by PFGE and PCR-RFLP of the coagulase gene to distinguish MRSA isolates.

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Department of Clinical Laboratory Medicine, Nagoya University Hospital, Japan.


Staphylococcus aureus isolates were collected from epidemiologically unrelated clinical sources in Japan between 1991 and 1993. A total of 40 isolates, five each of eight coagulase types, were analysed by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) of the coagulase gene, PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) after AluI digestion, and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) of chromosomal DNA after SmaI digestion. The efficiency of discrimination among the isolates increased in the order of PCR < PCR-RFLP < PFGE, yielding five, 13 and 31 different types, respectively. To assess the clinical use of these methods, 42 additional methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) isolates collected from 27 inpatients in a hospital were analysed. PFGE and PCR-RFLP were able to discriminate 11 and four types, respectively. PFGE analysis detected cross-infection between four postoperative patients in an intensive-care unit, and in six neonates in intensive care. We conclude that of the three methods tested, PFGE analysis currently allows the most effective discrimination of MRSA strains.

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