Comparison of traditional and molecular methods of typing isolates of Staphylococcus aureus

F. C. Tenover, R. Arbeit, G. Archer, J. Biddle, S. Byrne, R. Goering, G. Hancock, G. A. Hebert, B. Hill, R. Hollis, W. R. Jarvis, B. Kreiswirth, W. Eisner, J. Maslow, L. K. McDougal, J. M. Miller, M. Mulligan, M. A. Pfaller

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423 Scopus citations


Fifty-nine Staphylococcus aureus isolates and 1 isolate of Staphylococcus intermedius were typed by investigators at eight institutions by using either antibiograms, bacteriophage typing, biotyping, immunoblotting, insertion sequence typing with IS257/431, multilocus enzyme electrophoresis, restriction analysis of plasmid DNA, pulsed-field or field inversion gel electrophoresis, restriction analysis of PCR-amplified coagulase gene sequences, restriction fragment length polymorphism typing by using four staphylococcal genes as probes, or ribotyping. Isolates from four well- characterized outbreaks (n = 29) and a collection of organisms from two nursing homes were mixed with epidemiologically unrelated stock strains from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Several isolates were included multiple times either within or between the sets of isolates to analyze the reproducibilities of the typing systems. Overall, the DNA-based techniques and immunoblotting were most effective in grouping outbreak- related strains, recognizing 27 to 29 of the 29 outbreak-related strains; however, they also tended to include 3 to 8 epidemiologically unrelated isolates in the same strain type. Restriction fragment length polymorphism methods with mec gene-associated loci were less useful than other techniques for typing oxacillin-susceptible isolates. Phage typing, plasmid DNA restriction analysis, and antibiogram analysis, the techniques most readily available to clinical laboratories, identified 23 to 26 of 29 outbreak- related isolates and assigned 0 to 6 unrelated isolates to outbreak strain types. No single technique was clearly superior to the others; however, biotyping, because it produced so many subtypes, did not effectively group outbreak-related strains of S. aureus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)407-415
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Clinical Microbiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)


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