Ribotyping—A new tool for molecular epidemiology: Pseudomonas cepacia as a model
Review articleOpen access

AbstractRibotyping is a method of determining the molecular epidemiology of bacterial pathogens by a Southern blot analysis of the RFLPs detected by using rRNA to probe chromosomal DNA. This genotyping method offers advantages over previously employed methods in that it does not rely on potentially unstable phenotypic markers and it is applicable to a wide variety of bacterial species. The utility of this method has been clearly demonstrated in our investigations of the epidemiology of P. cepacia among individuals with CF. These studies have provided evidence supporting the possibility of nosocomial acquisition of this pathogen, and have demonstrated that CF patients may remain colonized by the same P. cepacia strain for prolonged periods. Finally, by using ribotyping, we have demonstrated that person-to-person transmission of P. cepacia between CF patients can occur.Thus, our studies of P. cepacia serve as a model for the application of ribotyping to epidemiologic investigations. This method continues to gain acceptance as a powerful tool for epidemiologists and clinical microbiologists, and is currently being employed in studies of numerous bacterial pathogens.

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