How to select and interpret molecular strain typing methods for epidemiological studies of bacterial infections: a review for healthcare epidemiologists. Molecular Typing Working Group of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America

Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 1997 Jun;18(6):426-39. doi: 10.1086/647644.


Strain typing is an integral part of epidemiological investigations of nosocomial infections. Methods for distinguishing among bacterial strains have improved dramatically over the last 5 years, due mainly to the introduction of molecular technology. Although not all molecular techniques are equally effective for typing all organisms, pulsed-field gel electrophoresis is the technique currently favored for most nosocomial pathogens. Criteria to aid epidemiologists in interpreting results have been published. Nucleic acid amplification-based typing methods also are applicable to many organisms and can be completed within a single day, but interpretive criteria still are under debate. Strain typing cannot be used to replace a sound epidemiological investigation, but serves as a useful adjunct to such investigations.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Typing Techniques*
  • Cross Infection / epidemiology*
  • Cross Infection / microbiology*
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Genetic Techniques*
  • Humans
  • Seroepidemiologic Studies*
  • Technology Assessment, Biomedical