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Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 1997 Jun;18(6):426-39.

How to select and interpret molecular strain typing methods for epidemiological studies of bacterial infections: a review for healthcare epidemiologists. Molecular Typing Working Group of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America.

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Hospital Infections Program, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia 30333, USA.


Strain typing is an integral part of epidemiological investigations of nosocomial infections. Methods for distinguishing among bacterial strains have improved dramatically over the last 5 years, due mainly to the introduction of molecular technology. Although not all molecular techniques are equally effective for typing all organisms, pulsed-field gel electrophoresis is the technique currently favored for most nosocomial pathogens. Criteria to aid epidemiologists in interpreting results have been published. Nucleic acid amplification-based typing methods also are applicable to many organisms and can be completed within a single day, but interpretive criteria still are under debate. Strain typing cannot be used to replace a sound epidemiological investigation, but serves as a useful adjunct to such investigations.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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