Outbreak report Open Access
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In Denmark, as part of the national laboratory-based surveillance system of human enteric infections, all S. Typhimurium isolates are currently sub-typed using phage typing, antibiogram typing, and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). However, the discriminatory ability of PFGE is not always high enough to discriminate within certain phage types, and it is not always possible to separate unrelated and related isolates. We have therefore applied multiple locus variable number of tandem repeats analysis (MLVA) for surveillance typing of S. Typhimurium since 2004. In May and June 2005, an outbreak with 26 cases of S. Typhimurium infection was identified by MLVA. The isolates were fully sensitive and had one of the most frequently occurring Danish phage types (DT12) and PFGE types. S. Typhimurium DT12 isolates from routine surveillance of animals and food were typed using MLVA and PFGE for comparison with the human isolates. The typing results revealed that an isolate from a pig herd and its corresponding slaughterhouse located in the same geographic region as the outbreak had the same PFGE and MLVA type as the human isolates. In contrast, all other DT12 isolates investigated, which had the same PFGE profile, had different MLVA types. The conclusion that the pig herd was the source of the human infections was supported by patient information, and pork from the herd stopped entering the market on 29 June. MLVA may contribute significantly to both surveillance and outbreak investigations of S. Typhimurium, as without MLVA typing this outbreak would not have been found nor its origin traced.


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