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J Clin Microbiol. 2003 Oct;41(10):4502-11.

Molecular subtyping of Vibrio cholerae O1 and O139 by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis in Hong Kong: correlation with epidemiological events from 1994 to 2002.

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Public Health Laboratories, Public Health Laboratory Centre, Hong Kong Department of Health, Shek Kip Mei, Kowloon, Hong Kong.


Two hundred twenty isolates of Vibrio cholerae O1 and O139 collected from 1994 to 2002 in Hong Kong were analyzed by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). Chromosomal DNAs from all V. cholerae isolates in agarose plugs were digested with the restriction enzyme NotI, resulting in 20 to 27 bands. Sixty distinctive PFGE patterns in the range of 10 to 300 kb were noted among 213 isolates typeable by PFGE. By comparing the common PFGE patterns obtained from four well-defined outbreaks of V. cholerae O1 and O139 with those obtained from other, epidemiologically unrelated isolates during the study period, indistinguishable and similar PFGE patterns were identified, indicating their close relatedness, in agreement with the results of epidemiological investigations. Heterogeneous PFGE patterns (with four to six banding differences), however, were identified among strains that were imported from other parts of Asia, including Indonesia, India, and Pakistan. Correlations with epidemiological information further support the usefulness of PFGE as an epidemiological tool in laboratory investigations of suspected outbreaks. Standardization of PFGE methodology will allow international comparison of fingerprint patterns and will form the basis of a laboratory network for tracking V. cholerae.

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