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Three outbreaks and many isolated cases of enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli O157:H7 occurred in 1996 and 1997 in Okayama Prefecture, Japan. In an attempt to investigate the route of these infections, the strains isolated from the 3 outbreaks (total 33 strains) and 15 isolated cases (total 15 strains) were investigated using random amplification of polymorphic DNA (RAPD) and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). In addition, 10 strains from an outbreak in Tojo Cho, Hiroshima Prefecture (June 1996), 2 strains from the particular types of meat in Kochi Prefecture, and 42 strains isolated from bovine feces in a farm in Okayama Prefecture were also investigated in the same manner. PFGE was much more useful than RAPD for molecular typing of the clinical isolates, in that it allowed us to classify them into 10 PFGE groups. We noted that the strains differed according to the time and place of the outbreaks (or isolated cases). This indicates that O157:H7 infections in Okayama Prefecture were caused by different strains (although some cases were aggravated by the same strains as were found in other areas). The isolates from bovine feces were classified into 5 groups by PFGE profiles, but none of them were identical to those of the clinical isolates.
enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli O157: H7
pulsed field gel electrophoresis
random amplification of polymorphic DNA
Acta Medica Okayama
Okayama University Medical School
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