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Evaluation of molecular typing methods for identification of outbreak‐associated Neisseria meningitidis isolates

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It is essential in an outbreak investigation that strain characterization of Neisseria meningitidis is performed in a rapid and accurate manner. This study evaluated two new molecular typing methods, multiple‐locus variable number tandem repeat analysis (MLVA) and repetitive sequence‐based PCR (rep‐PCR) (DiversiLab; bioMérieux) and compared them with current recommended methodologies. This retrospective study included 36 invasive N. meningitidis serogroup C isolates collected in Sweden 2001 through 2009 and previously subjected to outbreak investigation. All strains were typed with highly variable‐MLVA (HV‐MLVA) and rep‐PCR. The isolates were further characterized by multilocus sequence typing (MLST) and sequencing of the fetA, fHbp, penA, porA and porB genes. The results showed that HV‐MLVA had the highest index of diversity (0.99) and rep‐PCR had the highest congruence (40%) with the currently recommended typing methods. The HV‐MLVA correlated best to the spatiotemporal connections and had the overall highest Adjusted Wallace coefficients, suggesting that HV‐MLVA can predict the results of the other typing methods in the study. We therefore suggest that after initial confirmation of species, serogroup and genosubtype, HV‐MLVA should be used as the most discriminatory method for first hand investigation of N. meningitidis serogroup C isolates.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2013-06-01

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