Epidemiological studies on Mycobacterium avium are requisite for revealing infection sources and disease transmission. They are based upon genotyping methods like RFLP and MIRU-VNTR. In our study, MIRU-VNTR typing was applied to 121 previously RFLP typed M. avium field isolates to compare the discriminatory power of both methods. The applicability of MIRU-VNTR typing was studied for isolates from a limited geographic area, namely 41 M. avium subsp. avium and 80 M. avium subsp. hominissuis isolates. Among the former, exhibiting 12 IS901 RFLP types, five MIRU-VNTR types were found with discriminatory index (DI) of 0.716. Among the latter, exhibiting 56 IS1245 RFLP types, 18 MIRU-VNTR types were found with DI of 0.866. Concomitant use of both methods increased DI to 0.981 and 0.995, respectively. MIRU-VNTR typing employing the selected markers provided discernible discrimination among M. avium subsp. hominissuis isolates, but more discriminative markers are needed for M. avium subsp. avium isolates.
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