How to Select and Interpret Molecular Strain Typing Methods for Epidemiological Studies of Bacterial Infections: A Review for Healthcare Epidemiologists

Fred C. Tenover, Robert D. Arbeit, Richard V. Goering, Barbara E. Murray, David H. Persing, Michael A. Pfaller, Robert A. Weinstein

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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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)426-439
Number of pages14
JournalInfection Control and Hospital Epidemiology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1997


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Immunology
  • Microbiology (medical)

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