Sodium dodecyl sulphate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE) of whole-cell proteins (WCP), immunoblot analysis and DNA restriction-endonuclease analysis (REA) were applied as potential typing methods to 31 clinically significant strains of , five of which came from a suspected outbreak of nosocomial infection in a respiratory-diseases ward. Twelve of 31 isolates were placed in four groups, each of which contained strains indistinguishable by the three typing techniques used. Each of a further two groups contained two strains, and they were similar by at least one technique; the remaining 15 strains were unique by all three methods. Four of five strains from the suspected outbreak were indistinguishable by SDS-PAGE of WCP, immunoblotting and REA. Results show that SDS-PAGE of WCP, immunoblotting and REA are suitable techniques for characterising and that there is a considerable degree of strain heterogeneity. Nosocomial infection with may be relatively common and further epidemiological studies with a combination of typing techniques are indicated.


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